Exhibition: British Art Show 7, Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, London, until April 17 2011
The British Art Show, the Hayward Gallery’s travelling boutique which journeys around the country every five years, has always had pulling power. More than 114,000 people saw the latest installment, In the Days of the Comets, when it went on show in Nottingham at the end of 2010 (read our review), but its return to the Hayward marks the first time it has appeared in London since 1990.
Roger Hiorns’ Untitled, a metal bench which fires off a sporadic flame occasionally tended to by a naked young man, has attracted plenty of attention for the capital chapter of the show. The 2009 Turner Prize nominee has also hung four resin works from the gallery ceiling and a Mercedes engine, protected by the blessings of a prayer group.
© Kieron McCarron
None of the 39 artists involved could be accused of risking mundanity. Christian Marclay has made an “astonishing” montage of thousands of film clips, Keith Wilson’s steel sculpture was originally commissioned for Hammersmith Station, and Sarah Lucas has stuffed bunches of nylon tights into biomorphic forms.
By Spartacus Chetwynd’s indefatigably preposterous standards, her looming architectural whirl of fabric, old windowpanes and discarded materials is relatively restrained. Charles Avery continues his fantasy island dynasty with View of the Port at Onomatopoeia, Nathaniel Mellor develops his fantastical Ourhouse soap opera and Juliette Blightman adds a lamp and net curtain to one of the Southbank’s windows.
© Kieron McCarron
Many commentators have expressed a concern that this could be the final time such an ambitious show is taken to such a wide audience, derailed by funding cuts. After London, it will head to Glasgow in May 2011 and Plymouth in September.
- Visit the show online for more.