Review: Space Shifters

Space Shifters at the Hayward Gallery – Review for The Learned Pig

The smell of engine oil lingers sharply in my nostrils, hours after I have left the vertiginous room of Richard Wilson’s 20:50, the final coup de théâtre in the Hayward Gallery’s Space Shifters exhibition. My mind keeps returning to the glassy, treacherous surface of the oil, which fills the room to half-way up the wall (and even out of a side door), creating in its perfect reflections the impression of a huge space, with me standing precariously on a spur in its very middle, looking into the depths below.

Much of the interpretation which accompanies Space Shifters uses words related to body movement, and it is with my whole body that I experience the 20 or so artworks. As someone who works in and with dance, I expected to notice the way in which my movement affected and was affected by the work; but I didn’t anticipate how even the inside of my body would react to the multiple shifts in perspective elicited as I go around the exhibition.

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