Five things to know about Space Shifters

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Thursday, September 27, 2018 - 15:52

Space Shifters is Hayward Gallery’s new perception-altering exhibition. Showcasing the work of 20 international artists, it features spectacular installations, kinetic sculptures and ambitious site-specific artworks. While the exhibition space might be full of disorientating twists and turns, we’ve collated five simple reasons to visit the gallery’s latest ambitious offering.

1. All of the artworks in this exhibition change the way that we experience space

Space Shifters brings together artworks that engage with perception and space. Often made from translucent or reflective materials, these artworks direct our attention to the spaces around them. As artist Helen Pashgian once said of her acrylic and resin sculptures that can be seen in Space Shifters, ‘It’s all about what these pieces teach you to perceive about their surroundings’.


Installation view Hayward Gallery, 2018 © Mark Blower.


2. It features innovative, minimalist sculptures from the 1960s as well as more recent perception-altering artworks by artists including Anish Kapoor and Jeppe Hein

As well as showcasing historical works associated with the ‘Light and Space’ movement, including pioneering sculptures by Fred Eversley, Robert Irwin and De Wain Valentine, Space Shifters traces the concerns of that generation of artists through to the present day, making links to a wide range of later artworks that employ diverse materials to reorient our perception of our surroundings.

3. There is a room flooded with engine oil, and another full of hundreds of stainless steel orbs

For his epic installation 20:50 (1987) Richard Wilson has taken over one of Hayward’s upper galleries, filling it to waist height with engine oil. The reflective surface of the oil mirrors the space above it, and creates for the viewer the vertiginous impression of walking into a curiously doubled and seemingly infinite environment. Downstairs in the lower galleries is Yayoi Kusama’s Narcissus Garden (1966–2018), a shimmering installation that consists of hundreds of reflective, stainless steel spheres.


Five things to know about Space Shifters

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, ⊂⊃, 2018. Installation view Hayward Gallery, London, 2018 © and courtesy the artist. Photo: Mark Blower. 

4. It also includes brand new artworks made in response to the architecture of the Hayward Gallery

Among these are Daniel Steegmann Mangrané’s chain-link curtains, ⊂⊃ (2018), which create a temporary barrier between two galleries on the lower floor and were inspired by the shape of Hayward Gallery’s cast-concrete staircases – and Leonor Antunes’s discrepancies with A. (2018), a sculpture that cascades from one of the ceiling coffers in the newly light-filled upper galleries. Elsewhere in the exhibition, Monika Sosnowska stages an irreverent architectural intervention with Handrail (2016–18).

5. It’s spectacular, but you shouldn’t just take our word for it

This exhibition is all about the way that we experience artworks in a specific environment, and the impact that they have on the space that surrounds them. As Hayward Gallery’s Senior Curator Dr Cliff Lauson puts it, the sculptures and installations in this exhibition ‘can’t be captured on either the printed page or on a screen’. So don’t just take our word for it, come and experience it for yourself.

Space Shifters is at Hayward Gallery from Wednesday 26 September until Sunday 6 January 2019. Hayward Gallery is open 11am – 7pm every day, except Tuesdays when the gallery is closed, with late night opening on Thursdays until 9pm.

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