Light Show

Light Show

Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre

Leo Villareal Cylinder, 2011. © the artist. Image courtesy the artist and Gering & Lopez Gallery, New York. Collection of The Amore Pacific Museum of Art, Korea. Photo: James Ewing Photography.

January 29, 2013

Light Show
30 January–28 April 2013

Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre 
Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

Light Show surveys the use of artificial light as a medium for sculpture. Focusing on works created by major international artists over the last fifty years, the exhibition brings together sculptures and installations that use light to transform space and to influence and alter perception. While exploring how we experience and psychologically respond to illumination and colour, Light Show also encompasses conceptual, social and political concerns. Besides including new and recent works, the exhibition features works not seen for decades which have been re-created especially for Hayward Gallery.

Since the 1960s, an increasing number of artists from around the world have incorporated artificial light in their work, exhibiting light itself or exploiting its perceptual effects. These artists approach light as a spatial and environmental experience, a factor of psychological influence, and an intangible material which can be manipulated and sculpted. Individual artworks examine different aspects of light such as colour, duration, shadows, natural and artificial illumination, and projection, demonstrating light’s crucial role in the transition of sculpture from object to environment.

Light Show includes two of Dan Flavin’s pioneering fluorescent sculptures; Jenny Holzer’s column of LED signs, MONUMENT; James Turrell’s phenomenal Wedgework V; David Batchelor’s back-to-front stack of intense urban colour, Magic Hour; and Olafur Eliasson’s stroboscopic Model for a timeless garden. It also features immersive environmental installations by Carlos Cruz-Diez, Anthony McCall, and Ann Veronica Janssens, among others. Historic works re-created especially for the Hayward Gallery include early installations by Doug Wheeler, Nancy Holt, and Brigitte Kowanz. A new large-scale commission in neon by Iván Navarro fills the front windows of the Hayward Gallery foyer.

Surveying works using a wide range of illumination sources, Light Show presents cutting-edge lighting technologies, such as custom-made computer-controlled LED lightning, alongside ‘found’ objects, such as illuminated advertising lightboxes rescued from city streets. Works using the most modest means – an electric torch, or a single theatrical spotlight – feature together with highly complex installations. Individually and collectively, these works stimulate many different – and often surprising – visual experiences. The exhibition invites us to wonder at, contemplate, investigate and, in some cases, to interact with illumination as a phenomenon and as an artistic medium.

Light Show includes work by David Batchelor, Jim Campell, Bill Culbert, Carlos-Cruz-Diez, Olafur Eliasson, Fischli and Weiss, Dan Flavin, Ceal Floyer, Nancy Holt, Jenny Holzer, Ann Veronica Janssens, Brigitte Kowanz, Anthony McCall, François Morellet, Iván Navarro, Philippe Parreno, Katie Paterson, Conrad Shawcross, James Turrell, Doug Wheeler, Cerith Wyn Evans, and Leo Villareal.

Light Show is curated by Dr Cliff Lauson, Curator, Hayward Gallery. 

The exhibition is accompanied by a public programme of talks, tours, poetry readings, live music and other events; visit

A hardback catalogue, featuring extensive illustrations and including essays by Anne Wagner, Philip Ball and Cliff Lauson, together with articles on each of the artists, is available to Hayward Gallery visitors at a special exhibition price.

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Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre
January 29, 2013

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