Monday, August 17, 2009

Walking in my mind

Walking in my mind at the Hayward Gallery was an amazing experience including some monumental works. Before arriving at the gallery the work of Yayoi Kusama was encountered on the river bank in the form of wrapped trees. It interested me to see how many people had interacted with these artworks by leaving messages on the white spots.
Her main installation (left) was of giant inflated shapes in red with white spots set within flooring and ceiling of the same design with mirrored walls and ceiling. Although this gives a sense of continuity, of going both forwards and backwards in space and time it can also be very disconcerting and quite overwhelming at times.

I loved the idea of Thomas Hirschhorn's 'Cavemanman' I wasn't totally convinced by its execution. Again slightly disconcerting to walk through, the cave made of cardboard and packing tape just didn't quite cut it for me. The idea of covering the walls and floors with graffiti as a link to the past and the caves of Lascaux seemed rather flippant but the idea of the junk that litters our minds for which we have no use and no means of disposal was very accurate of today's multi sensory world.

For me the masterpiece of the show was Chiharu Shiota's 'After the dream'. This is 3-dimensional lace at its best! I find the ghostly white dresses, rather than the enclosing black threads, rather sinister but am not sure why. It's uncertain whether the dresses are trapped or protected by the web, if they are trapped is it to prevent them from getting out and harming the audience or to hold them against their will for unknown purposes? Walking through the web tunnel was a wonderful experience, not at all oppressive, the depth of the web was also deepened by the soft shadows on the walls. I find it strange that she uses wool which is not a traditional Japanese material, I wonder if there is a significance that I have missed?

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