Went to see 'British Art Show 7' at the Hayward Gallery yesterday on a warm spring afternoon. Haven't been to the South Bank at all this year. In fact, the last exhibition I visited was the Gauguin show at Tate Modern way back in January.
The British Art Show takes place every five years (the first was held in 1979). Thirty-nine artists or artist groups were included this year, with barely a nod to the YBA's - Sarah Lucas being its only representative. Lucas exhibited a series of her NUDS sculptures on plynths, pairs of stuffed nylon tights formed into soft sculptures, like balloons fashioned into curious shapes.
I did not get to see Roger Hiorn's flame flare up on the metal bench he had installed in the gallery (a talking point of the show), nor the naked youth sitting beside it in contemplation. At the time of my visit there was only a metal bench. Disappointing.
Wolfgang Tillman's huge green and black Freischwimmer 155 was my favourite piece and intensely compelling - a photograph made without a camera, simply playing with light and exposure.
There were many opportunities in the gallery to retreat to the dark comfort that film presentations offer. Christian Marclay's The Clock, a 24-hour film made of edited clips of assorted movies synchronised with real time, was the ultimate escape and one of the star attractions of the exhibition. Luke Fowler's video, A Grammar of Listening, where sound is explored in relation to vision, was another of the highlights. Yet many of the installations and paintings in the show barely captured my imagination.
Is this where British Art is at? Have the curators captured the zeitgeist? Go see the show and make your own mind up!
British Art Show Official Site: