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    10 iconic exhibitions from 50 years of Hayward Gallery

    Pool with Rowing Boats by Gelitin on top of the Hayward Gallery
    Gelitin - normally, proceeding and unrestricted with without title, 2008 Mixed media Courtesy the artists at PSYCHO BUILDINGS The Hayward Gallery 2008 © Stephen White

    From the moment it first opened its doors in 1968, Hayward Gallery has played an integral part in the British art world.

    For half a century, from its opening Henri Matisse retrospective to the current celebration of Lee Bul, the gallery has presented work by the world’s most adventurous and innovative artists.

    In 2018, we celebrated Hayward Gallery’s 50th anniversary and took the opportunity to look back at some of the incredible exhibitions that have graced the concrete of our brutalist icon. From Bridget Riley to Tracey Emin, Francis Bacon to Antony Gormley we’re certainly not short on glittering highlights, but we have managed to curate the incredible role-call of artistic talent down to the following ten iconic exhibitions.

    Visitors to Hayward Gallery's 1970 exhibition, Kinetics, survey one of the exhibition pieces
    Installation view: Kinetics, Hayward Gallery, 1971

    1970 Kinetics

    Visitors to Hayward Gallery's 1970 exhibition, Kinetics, view some of the exhibition pieces
    Installation view: Kinetics, Hayward Gallery, 1971

    Bright, colourful and often intensely dynamic, Hayward Gallery’s 1970 exhibition Kinetics was a major international showcase of the new active sculptural art. Featuring works by Jean Tinguely, Nam June Paik, Peter Logan, Takis, Martha Boto and many others this presentation of art in motion dazzled a wide-eyed public.

    Visitors the Hayward Gallery's 1971 exhibition of the works of Bridget Riley take in the art work.
    John Webb
    Installation view: Bridget Riley: Paintings and Drawings 1951-71, Hayward Gallery, 1971. Photo: John Webb

    1971 Bridget Riley: Paintings and Drawings 1951-1971

    Visitors the Hayward Gallery's 1971 exhibition of the works of Bridget Riley take in the art work.
    John Webb
    Installation view: Bridget Riley: Paintings and Drawings 1951-71, Hayward Gallery, 1971. Photo: John Webb
    Visitors the Hayward Gallery's 1971 exhibition of the works of Bridget Riley take in the art work.
    John Webb
    Installation view: Bridget Riley: Paintings and Drawings 1951-71, Hayward Gallery, 1971. Photo: John Webb

    Bridget Riley was the first contemporary painter to have a full-scale retrospective here at Hayward Gallery. The exhibition, organised by the Arts Council as part of a European tour, featured the artist’s black and white works, alongside her lesser known paintings, early drawings and sketches. The retrospective took place ten years after the artist’s first solo exhibition at London’s Gallery One, and three years after she won the International Prize for Painting at the Venice Biennale.

    An installation view of the 1989 Hayward Gallery exhibition The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain
    John Webb
    Installation view: The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989. Photo: John Webb

    1989 The Other Story

    An installation view of the 1989 Hayward Gallery exhibition The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain
    John Webb
    Installation view: The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain, Hayward Gallery, 1989. Photo: John Webb

    This seminal exhibition - devised and selected by artist, writer, editor and curator Rashed Araeen - celebrated the contribution of Artists from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean in post-war Britain. Deliberately not an academic or objective history, it was instead curated by an artist who declared himself to be ‘wholly involved in the story’. The Other Story was divided into four thematic sections: In the Citadel of Modernism; Taking the Bull by the Horns; Confronting the System; and Recovering Cultural Metaphors. Twenty-four artists took part in the exhibition, including Sonia Boyce, Eddie Chambers, Mona Hatoum, Lubaina Himid, Keith Piper and F.N. Souza.

    Peter Greenaway's 1996 artwork, In the Dark, part of the 1996 Hayward Gallery exhibition, Spellbound
    John Riddy
    Peter Greenaway, In the Dark (1996). Installation view: Spellbound: Art and Film, Hayward Gallery, 1996. Photo: John Riddy

    1996 Spellbound: Art and Film

    Our 1996 exhibition Spellbound explored the relationship between art and film. As well as installation pieces, which included a room full of props by Eduardo Paolozzi, the exhibition also showcased specially produced films from artists including Damien Hirst, Steve McQueen and Boyd Webb. Other artists  played with the concepts of existing films; such as Douglas Gordon’s 24-Hour Psycho, which slowed down Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal work so as to make the film last a whole day.

    An installation view of Anish Kapoor's 1998 Hayward Gallery exhibition
    John Riddy
    Installation view: Anish Kapoor, Hayward Gallery, 1998. Photo: John Riddy

    1998 Anish Kapoor

    In 1998 Hayward Gallery was the venue for the first major showing in a public gallery in the UK of the work of Anish Kapoor. The exhibition featured 20 large-scale sculptural works made between 1990 and 1998 including a number of site-specific works which responded to the architecture of the gallery. The artist described the exhibition, which took over the entirety of Hayward Gallery, as being ‘like theatre, but not theatrical’.

    “It may be the most valuable insight into Anish Kapoor’s work to suggest that the presence of an object can render a space more empty than mere vacancy could ever envisage.”

    Homi K. Bhaba, writing in the accompanying exhibition catalogue
    An installation view of the 2002 Hayward Gallery exhibition, Paul Klee: The Nature of Creation
    Installation view: Paul Klee: The Nature of Creation, Hayward Gallery, 2002

    2002 Paul Klee: The nature of Creation

    An installation view of the 2002 Hayward Gallery exhibition, Paul Klee: The Nature of Creation
    Installation view: Paul Klee: The Nature of Creation, Hayward Gallery, 2002

    This was the first major retrospective of Klee’s work to be held in the UK. Selected by the artist Bridget Riley and art historian Robert Kudielka, the exhibition benefitted from what the then Hayward Gallery Director Susan Ferleger Brandes described as both ‘a scholarly focus and an artist’s eye’. Featuring 96 works that ranged from drawings and watercolours to examples of Klee’s teaching at the Bauhaus, the exhibition set out to examine the seminal role Klee had in the development of twentieth-century art. 

    Visitors in Light Installation by artist, Antony Gormley at Hayward Gallery
    Blind Light 2007 by Antony Gormley at Blind Light Exhibition at The Hayward 2007. Photo copyright Stephen White
    Blind Light (2007). Installation view: Antony Gormley: Blind Light, Hayward Gallery, 2007

    2007 Antony Gormley: Blind Light

    Figure of Man with View of London Eye by artist, Antony Gormley at Hayward Gallery
    View of Event Horizon part of Antony Gormley Blind Light at The Hayward 2007. Photo copyright Gautier Deblonde
    View of Event Horizon part of Antony Gormley Blind Light at The Hayward 2007. Photo copyright Gautier Deblonde
    Four Figures of a Man Facing Each other in four Corners of a Room by artist, Antony Gormley at Hayward Gallery
    Drawn 2006-7 by Antony Gormley at Blind Light Exhibition at The Hayward 2007. Photo copyright Stephen White
    Drawn (2006-07). Installation view: Antony Gormley: Blind Light, Hayward Gallery, 2007

    For his first major showing in a London public gallery Antony Gormley presented a series of large-scale installations, including several newly commissioned works that dramatically engaged with Hayward Gallery’s architecture. Taking the body as its point of departure, the exhibition explored the ways in which we orientate ourselves spatially; how we react when disorientated and how we relate to architecture and the built environment.

    The exhibition also memorably took the artist’s work beyond the gallery with Event Horizon, which featured 30 life-size bronze casts of the artist’s body sited on the rooftops of surrounding buildings and Waterloo Bridge – all of them visible from Hayward Gallery’s sculpture terraces.

    View of London Eye and Royal Festival Hall from Rowing Boat Lake by Gelitin at Hayward Gallery
    Gelitin normally, proceeding and unrestricted with without title, 2008 Mixed media Courtesy the artists at PSYCHO BUILDINGS The Hayward Gallery 2008 © Stephen White
    Gelitin, Normally, Proceeding and Unrestricted With Without Title (2008). Installation view: Psycho Buildings, Hayward Gallery, 2008. Photo: Stephen White

    2008 Psycho Buildings: Artists take on Architecture

    Installation of Bricks, Wood and Metal Debris by Los Carpinteros at Hayward Gallery
    Los Carpinteros at PSYCHO BUILDINGS The Hayward Gallery 2008 © Stephen White
    Los Carpinteros, Cold Study of a Disaster (2005). Installation view: Psycho Buildings, Hayward Gallery, 2008. Photo: Stephen White

    In the summer of 2008 Hayward Gallery was visibly and physically transformed as it was filled with artist-designed architectural environments for Psycho Buildings, an exhibition that invited visitors to immerse themselves in a series of eleven atmospheric, enthralling and unsettling installations. As part of the exhibition the Austrian artists' collective Gelitin transformed our west facing sculpture terrace into a boating lake - complete with handmade boats - high above Belvedere Road. 

    Inside the sense of disorder was continued by Marco Castillo and Dagoberto Rodriguez, from the Havana-based collective Los Carpinteros, with their installation Cold Study of a Disaster which created a full-scale apartment caught mid-explosion complete with collapsing walls and furniture and furnishings flying through the air.

    Snack Bar installation with People by artist, Jeremy Deller at Hayward Gallery
    Valerie's Snack Bar (2009) installation view at Hayward Gallery. Photo Linda Nylind 2012
    Jeremy Deller, Valerie’s Snack Bar (2009). Installation view: Joy In People, Hayward Gallery, 2012. Photo: Linda Nylind

    2012 Joy in People: Jeremy Deller

    View of Flag Suburbia in Open Room Installation by artist, Jeremy Deller at Hayward Gallery
    Deller_Open Bedroom (1993) recreation for Joy in People. PHoto LInda Nylind 2012
    Jeremy Deller, Open Bedroom (1993). Installation view: Joy In People, Hayward Gallery, 2012. Photo: Linda Nylind

    This mid-career survey provided a fresh overview of Jeremy Deller’s multi-faceted work. Describing himself as a ‘self-taught conceptual artist’, Deller has alternatively been an assembler of things and a ‘stager’ of events, orchestrating, curating and directing projects that include processions, historical re-enactments, demonstrations, films and exhibitions. Joy in People featured almost all of the artist’s major works since the early 1990s, including installations, photographs, videos, banners, performance works and sound pieces.

    Visitors sitting and standing in Green and Pink Light Installation by artist, Carlos Cruz-Diez at Hayward Gallery
    Carlos Cruz-Diez, Chromosaturation, 1965-2013, at LIGHT SHOW at Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre. Photo by Linda Nylind.
    Carlos Cruz-Diez, Chromosaturation (1965-2013). Installation view: Light Show, Hayward Gallery, 2013. Photo: Linda Nylind

    2013 Light Show

    Visitors in Dark Looking at colour Light Installation by artist, David Batchelor at Hayward Gallery
    DAVID BATCHELOR_Magic Hour_2004,2007 at LIGHT SHOW at Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre 2013 Photo Linda Nylind
    David Batchelor, Magic Hour (2004, 2007). Installation view: Light Show, Hayward Gallery, 2013. Photo: Linda Nylind

    This exhibition brought together sculptures and installations that use artificial light to transform space and to influence and alter perception. Making use of materials ranging from off-the-shelf fixtures to computer-controlled lighting, the works stimulated many different - and often surprising - responses. Visitors were invited to wonder at, contemplate, investigate and, in some cases, to interact with illumination. Among the 22 artists exhibited in Light Show were David Batchelor, Olafur Eliasson, Dan Flavin, Nancy Holt, Jenny Holzer, Philippe Parreno and James Turrell.