“Sixty years of restless sculpture…inspired by movement, flux and organic growth”. Sounds right up my street you say? You bet! I loved this exhibition currently on at the Hayward Gallery.

Growth implies movement, which happens quite literally in the first room of the exhibition, as silk-clad lights rise and fall, open and close above your head like jellyfish that have lost their tentacles. Shylight by Dutch studio Drift wants to draw attention to everyday rhythms and harmonies in the natural environment.

Michel Blazy’s nearby Bouquet Final also moves, but almost imperceptibly, on a much slower timescale. From troughs suspended on scaffolding bath foam puffs, spirals and, like the clouds it evokes, (eventually) drips.

While on the topic of jellyfish, two of Jean-Luc Moulène’s small sculptures pay homage to the medusa, one in plastic and one in glass.

In the same room, Matthew Ronay’s textured and painted wooden pieces unmistakably draw on biological and botanical inspiration: “I started to realise that all these things you think you invented, nature thought of them first.”

As someone with an interest in recycled materials, I couldn’t help but be drawn to Choi Jeong Hwa’s Blooming Matrix. A series of columns constructed from saucepan handles, rusty nails, wheels and even old balloons, the piece is a message about overconsumption leading to a loss of the plant life that they resemble.

Mylar is a metallic polyester film that I used in one of the pieces (a jellyfish!) I made for my final exhibition at City Lit. I hated it! But Tara Donovan has created an extraordinary piece made from thousands of Mylar discs folded and glued together to form different-sized spheres. It takes up a whole room and is a bit like walking round a giant molecular model made of disco balls.

Marguerite Humeau’s work is not quite so large but still impressive in scale, given that she is working largely with beeswax. Inspired by honeycomb, mushroom gills and termite mounds, she also incorporates yeast in her pieces, drawing a parallel with the way it has contributed to human society through its use in bread and beer making.

After all these lumpy bumpy eruptions and exuberance, the work of Ruth Asawa is like the calm in the eye of a hurricane. Compared with the other pieces in the exhibition, its symmetry feels formally austere, but its beauty still made me catch my breath.

Lumps and bumps never looked so good.

When Forms Come Alive runs at the Hayward Gallery, London, until 6 May 2024.

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2 responses

  1. totally inspired by your wonderful photos (plus captions) Kim, I MUST now hit the Southbank! What a show!
    Thank you for your posting.

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