When Forms Come Alive at The Hayward Gallery

30.04.2024
Jemma Gray

When Forms Come Alive at The Hayward Gallery

30.04.2024
Jemma Gray

The ‘When Forms Come Alive’ exhibition at The Hayward Gallery is a unique journey through the past 60 years of contemporary sculpture. It showcases how artists have harnessed the familiar experiences of movement, flux, and growth to create dynamic and urgent explorations of physical materials and experience. In a world increasingly dominated by digital experiences, this exhibition stands out for its celebration of the tactile and the physical.

Each sculpture in the exhibition is a sensory feast, offering a unique tactile surface or form that provokes a visceral response in the viewer. In an age of processed and retouched imagery, these real-life artworks offer the satisfaction of gesture and movement, the power of gravity, and the immersive experience of large-scale space-bending sculpture.

Although there is no overarching art movement identifiable to connect the 21 International artists in this exhibition neatly, they all possess a dynamic and shape-shifting energy. Each piece defies clear identification; they cannot fit neatly into a themed box, both figuratively and physically. Spanning across 60 years of contemporary art, the artworks include tantalising forms by artists such as Ernesto Neto, Franz West, Jean-Luc Moulène and Tara Donovan.

One of the most visually impressive pieces for me was by Tara Donovans’ large-scale sculpture Untitled (Mylar). Like a spaceship, the glistening sculpture’s enormous sprawling entity looked like it was set to lift off out of the exhibition space. Its eye-catching material contained folded and attached mylar tape to mirror the overlooked beauty of the world directly around us, even though distorted or misshapen. The entire exhibition is journey through the senses.

‘When Forms Come Alive’ at The Hayward Gallery London, on until 6 May 2024