Saturday, 16 August 2008

"Psycho Buildings" at the Hayward Gallery

You have a week left to see this amazing exhibition, a week left to go boating above London!

Twelve pictures here, on the Guardian online, and a write-up here, also on Guardian online.

The first psycho building is an edifice that looks something like a spider’s body sans legs, made from nylon mesh over wood, with vast hanging sacs inside, (think of that thing at the back of your throat), filled with spices. The whole is vast… it looms in the fist space, towers up the best part of two floors, and through a false ‘ceiling made of more mesh, like a stretched cobweb.

It is scented, with pepper, and spice, whatever it is, in these 'things'.

I sniffed one of the ‘things’, which look rather nastily scrotal, or cancerous - and it was filled with cloves. Got it on my nose and was followed round the whole exhibition by the scent.

Was rather glad to leave that one behind. Less of a building, more of a nightmare/filmset thing, I expected it to move.

Then there is an extraordinary edifice made by a Korean artist, who moved to the USA, of his family home, a simple one storey house, crashed into the side of the apartment block he lived in in the USA. That was extraordinary, thought provoking. The contents of each house are all there, some jumbled, slid about in the collision, and others still in place, horribly normal.

The same artist has a suspended red nylon staircase and vast red nylon false ceiling in another part of the exhibition.

There is a fabulous ‘city’ made of lit doll’s houses, reminiscent of a Disney ride… something disturbing about it, all in the dark, all these little windows watching you. I found myself looking for the one that must be unlit, and couldn’t find it.

There is a metal tunnel like edifice, like a birth canal of a vast robot, which clangs and resonates as you walk up it.. There is also an ‘exploded’ house, with bits of furniture and building materials suspended on wires. I didn’t like this, thought it was too ‘easy’ It felt forced.

There was then the most amazing two rooms, in which false walls had been attacked by the artist (we assume) a reconstruction of something previously on show in Edinburgh. Mike Nelson's To the Memory of HP Lovecraft (1999). Scratch marks, gouges, holes in the walls, tears… damage everywhere, a very violent otherwise empty space, in which you, the viewer, became part of the aftermath of 'something', complicit.

There’s a roof level boating lake, on which you can take a rowing boat! A huge plastic domed structure in which some people stand inside at ‘ground’ level and experience what its like to see others lying or bouncing on the level above. There’s a tissue paper and wire mesh room, (didn’t like this. It reminded me of a 4th form project.)

There’s a cinema out on the roof, inside an organic wooden structure, which felt like being in a huge gullet, and the light passing along the walls set up a sort of peristalsis.

Amazing. I sat on the floor and wrote down whatever lines came to me in each room.

And whether I ‘liked’ the exhibits or not, I was wowed, challenged, made to reappraise, think. We don’t do enough of that. At least, I don’t!

(Pictures by Stephen White)

1 comment:

Kerry said...

My partner and I took the day off went for her birthday on Friday. It was blooming amazing. I will never ever forget floating looking across london it was like a dream. Also loved both dolls house exhibits - so full of potential stories!