The first survey show of light art in the UK opens at the Hayward Gallery. Emma Chrichton-Miller looks forward to an illuminating experience
David Batchelor, ‘Magic Hour’, 2004-07. © Bruno Serralongue – Air de Paris
In 1961 Dan Flavin, at the start of his career, began work on his Icons series. Using both fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs, he initiated what has become an entire genre in contemporary art; art made of light.
‘Light Show’ at the Hayward Gallery, is the first survey of light art in the UK. It shows works ranging from Flavin to contemporary artists such as David Batchelor, whose Magic Hour uses light boxes to create a luminous array of colour.
The exhibition includes large-scale installations and immersive environments by around 20 international artists, such as Olafur Eliasson, Jenny Holzer, Anthony McCall and François Morellet. Curator Cliff Lauson says the show explores how artists have employed the qualities of light to influence the perceptions and even the states of mind of their audience. A highlight will be the recreation of American artist Nancy Holt’s Holes of Light, an installation not seen since 1973, where lights are shone through a central wall perforated with holes, creating patterns of light and dark.