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‘Space Shifters’

26 Sep 2018
6 Jan 2019
Hayward Gallery
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd
SE1 8XX London

Critic’s Pick: 

‘Space Shifters’ amounts to a glorious architectural ego-trip for the Hayward Gallery’s freshly renovated and spunkily skylit galleries. Luscious coloured resin works from Californian Light & Spacers De Wain Valentine and Robert Irwin glow like sheeny Jell-O. The high ceilings hosts suspended works by Leonor Antunes (a new commission in brass and hemp rope), Daniel Steegmann Mangrané (lightly jangling chain curtains strung in ovals to echo the gallery’s stairwells) and Felix Gonzalez-Torres (the beaded curtain work “Untitled” (Golden), 1995).

The headliners here, though, are large scale pieces that mess with perception, turning the orderly geometry of this Brutalist building’s interior to unexpected ends. Alicja Kwade’s mind-bending perceptual labyrinth WeltenLinie (2017) – a highlight of last year’s Venice Biennale – here gets the focus it deserves. Marrying boulders and tree stumps in stone, and various metals, Kwade’s work throws out questions about the nature of matter and space.

‘Space Shifters’ bows out on that much-loved London work, Richard Wilson’s 20:50 (1987): a narrowing walkway through a room half filled with oil, recently sold by the Saatchi Collection and soon to be installed at MoNA in Tasmania. However well you know the piece, seeing it in new architecture is to see it fresh.

-- Hettie Judah

For more picks from London read our Critic's Guide to the city here.