All of the Lights: Light Show at the Hayward Gallery

Outside the Inside Southbank Opener Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

I love my job. Not all the time (particularly on Admin Days), but in the broader sense, it’s pretty ace. But sometimes it can be hard to switch off. When you work from home and your work is in interiors and you’re also decorating your house from top to toe, sometimes it’s hard to think of little else. A “break” in-between writing about inspirational cushions and plotting a kitchen makeover shoot is these days spent frantically scouring eBay for cheap old cupboards, so I can finally store my guest towels somewhere other than in a leftover moving-house box on the floor, alongside dealing with DIY calamities (sigh)…

Light Show 1 Images by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

My point being, sometimes it’s easy to forget to step out of that interiors bubble and look at the big wide(r) world, as when we do, more often than not it provides the inspiration we’d been desperately seeking earlier. And a visit to the Hayward Gallery’s Light Show exhibition on London’s Southbank (where I snapped this cool graffiti and huge tree inexplicably wrapped in fabric, above) quite simply blew my little socks off recently.

Light Show 2 Images by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

An exploration of the way artists are increasingly using light itself as a medium, a series of displays and mini ‘sets’ play with the visitors’ visual and sensory perceptions – and some of them will LITERALLY blow your mind. Let’s put aside any deeper meaning and symbolism for a moment (look away, artists): this exhibition is fun! From Conrad Shawcross’s Slow Arc Inside a Cube IV (a small room where the play of light and shadow convince your brain the space is swiftly bouncing up and down, giving your the off-the-waltzers fairground-leg wobbles when you exit), to Olafur Eliasson’s Model for a Timeless Garden (a pitch black space with a bank of miniature fountains, flashed with strobe lighting to ‘freeze frame’ its movement), this is a playground for all. Case in point – it’s not often you see swathes of toddlers at art galleries actually engaging with the work on show, rather than just running amok round their exasperated parents.

Fluro Love Light Show Images by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

Art & Interiors Light Show & Dulux by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

From an interiors perspective (see, I just can’t help myself) it was fascinating watching how different lights and colours bled together in the graphic set of Carlos Cruz-Diez’s Chromosaturation, with both its hues and aesthetic sharing a little similarity with Dulux’s Collective Passions SS13 palette, along with Brigitte Kowanz’s beautiful Light Steps, giving a completely different twist to the much-berated (in interiors) fluorescent tube light and causing me to now lust after this, spotted in the gift shop.

{Images: All photography by Joanna Thornhill apart from the room set at the end, which is via Dulux. Light Show is on until 28th April 2013 and booking in advance is strongly recommended.}

{Psst: wondering why I’m blathering on about Dulux all week? Well, I’m working on an exciting online collaboration with them, exploring their latest SS13 trend, Collective Passions. All week I will be producing blog posts with this trend as the starting point, and then on Saturday 9th March I will be presenting my findings at Meet the Blogger London. To find out more about both, click here.}


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About Joanna Thornhill

Freelance Interior Stylist, Author, Writer and Crafter working for a range of magazine titles and commercial clients. Author of Home for Now (CICO Books 2014)

2 responses to “All of the Lights: Light Show at the Hayward Gallery”

  1. stevebob79 says :

    I loved Light Show too. Particularly Chromosaturation. I spent ages in there, grinning like a loon!

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