[Illuminating] London: Southbank Centre, Light Show

Still at the Southbank Centre… We seemed to be spending a lot of time in the south bank of Thames but this cultural quarter of London is so creative we kept hearing the Sirens’ call…

The Hayward Gallery… built  by Higgs and Hill, company that constructed a number of London’s iconic buildings like the Tate Britain in 1897 and BBC Television Centre in 1960. The Hayward Gallery opened in 1968 and is another example of the Brutalist architecture, later repeated in the construction of the National Theatre, a few steps away, towards Waterloo bridge.


In April they were hosting the Light Show Exhibition, bringing together sculptures and installations that use light to study its visual and sensory effects on space and spectators. A sense-stimulating exhibition, thoroughly illuminating!

It featured works by 22 artists, created from the 1960s to the present. These are a few of my favourites…


Leo Villareal, Cylinder II (2012).
A complex computer programming and 19.600 white LED lights orchestrated to create endlessly changing patterns and shapes

Leo Villareal

David Batchelor, Magic Hour (2004/2007).
A tower of discarded commercial lightboxes stacked back-to-front to create a multicoloured halo. Dusk in Las Vegas; when the sun goes down and lights come up…

David Batchelor

Conrad Shawcross, Slow Arc inside a Cube IV (2009).
A play of moving light and shadows. In the artists own words, ‘a radiant geometry’.

conrad shawcross

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Chromosaturation (1965-2013).
Red, Green & Blue monochromatic spaces. Sensory stimulation. I was aggressive, playful or relaxed under the different colours, with an immediacy that’s thought provoking. The Blue chamber was the most crowded… everyone passed by the other two but sat down and chatted, bathed in blue…

Carlos cruz-diez

Bill Culbert, Bulb Box Reflection II (1975).
The reflection of a light bulb in a mirror. Only the bulb’s reflection is alight while the actual bulb is not. The artist works using one-way mirrors but I’m still confused as to how this actually works!

Bill Culbert

Anthony McCall, You and I, Horizontal (2005).
Walk into a light so solid you can catch it.


Katie Paterson, Light bulb to Simulate Moonlight (2008).
In an industrialised society, thanks to light pollution created by excessive artificial light  it has become impossible to enjoy the natural moonlight in all its glory. The artist attempts to remedy this. Working with a light engineer, on a night of the full moon, they measured its light spectrum, temperature and amperage and translated this into a specially adapted halogen bulb. This artwork consists of a single, lit bulb together with a log book and a sufficient quantity of spare bulbs to provide a lifetime’s supply of moonlight…

Katie Paterson

Olafur Eliasson, Model for a timeless garden (2011).
The most un-photographable of them all! First you walk through a dark corridor so that your eyes can adjust. Then you enter into a dark room where a strobe light illuminates flowing streams of water, catching the move of every single droplet in mid-air. 27 fountains, an ever-changing landscape, a dream, a nightmare… On film you can get a better idea: http://vimeo.com/59646774

olafur eliasson

Photography was not allowed. All photos from the Light Show website.

London 24-29 April 2014

To be continued…


4 thoughts on “[Illuminating] London: Southbank Centre, Light Show

  1. When I am relaxing, I love to browse photography blogs. One gets to learn a lot without having to read pages of text, it’s amazing what complex computer programming can do. I am always left in awe…thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful week!

    • Yes, I agree, there are some fantastic photography sites and blogs out there, some of which I follow too. Although mine is not really one them (I tend to write/comment cause this way I can refresh my memory when I look back plus some readers may find it of interest as well… who knows) thanks for stopping by too! And I wish you, likewise, a lovely week!

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