The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

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Hayward chopped…

I went to the Martin Creed exhibition at the Hayward last weekend, and once again was struck by how fabulously the gallery adapts to all sorts of exhibitions. However I was shocked to see that a couple of the big square concrete balusters on the ramp up from the first gallery have been shorn off to allow Work No. 1092, which consists of massive white neon letters spelling out “MOTHERS”, to rotate on its steel beam. I can see that this bit of violence done to the gallery reinforces the menace of the piece (which would decapitate anyone over 6’6″), but I don’t think it was the right thing to do–there were other spaces big enough. I don’t think other installations have chopped away at the concrete: it feels like cheating, and giving up on the game of working with the building which all predecessors have played. One of those was Piers Gogh who came along to C20 last week as part of our “Through the Curator’s Lens” series on architectural exhibitions. It was great to see how he had fitted so many atmospheric evocations of Lutytens’ work in to the Brutalist spaces back in 1982 (perhaps not the most obvious successful fit). And as for the graffiti on the outside of the Hayward/QEH, we are still waiting for reassurance that this has been done in a way that allows it to be cleaned off without damaging the concrete. If only this building were listed.  (BTW I rang my wind up door bell for Work No. 1197
“All The Bells”,  2012, for the full three minutes)

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