Sunday, 12 July 2009

Walking in my mind

This exhibition at The Hayward comprises ten installations by contemporary artists each depicting a mindscape that the public can enter and walk through. The work of Yayoi Kusama is used to advertise the exhibition and is the most colourful. She has produced an environment covered in red fabric and white polka dots; the floor, ceiling and inflatable structures are all covered in the same fabric with walls of mirrors reflecting the colours back to the viewer. The picture shows some of the inflatable shapes on the roof of the Hayward. Twenty-five trees along the banks of the Thames have also had their trunks wrapped in the same material forming an installation outside the gallery.

I also thought Thomas Hirschhorn’s cave in Cavemanman was a good way of depicting the mind and allowing the viewer to enter into his thoughts. Walking through the ‘cave’ was quite claustrophobic and showed how different parts of life are categorised into different sections yet they all interact and form part of the whole.

I particularly liked the fairy tale-like quality of Chiharu Shiota’s After the dream. In which a dense web of threads intertwining from the ceiling to the walls formed a thicket around a group of overlarge white dresses that seemed to float in a motionless dance in the centre. A narrow tunnel running through the installation allows the viewer to walk through this network and wonder whether the dresses are being protected or ensnared in a deadly web.

Pipilotti Rist’s Sleeping room was another favourite of mine. It consisted of a dark room in which videos of body parts were projected onto two screens and the floor, while small lights circled around, and a disembodied voice repeated a sequence of phrases. The whole experience was very dream-lie and meditative and made you think about your own thoughts and how they interlink.

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