Oozing, squidgy, erupting forms come alive at Hayward Gallery
With its reassuring sounds, smells and textures, stepping into ‘When Forms Come Alive: Sixty Years of Restless Sculpture’ at the Hayward Gallery, London, is almost like slipping back in utero. Sensation is the star here, with an eclectic roster of emerging and established artists experimenting with fertile forms and occasionally viscous, spiky or stretchy material for a deliciously multisensory group show.
‘When Forms Come Alive’ at Hayward Gallery
Twenty-one artists have explored the possibilities of movement – the full roster comprises Lynda Benglis (winner of a 2024 Wallpaper* Design Award for her Loewe jewellery), Drift, Franz West, Eva Fàbregas, Ruth Asawa, Nairy Baghramian, Phyllida Barlow, Michel Blazy, Paloma Bosquê, Olaf Brzeski, Choi Jeonghwa, Tara Donovan, Holly Hendry, EJ Hill, Marguerite Humeau, Jean-Luc Moulène, Senga Nengudi, Ernesto Neto, Martin Puryear, Matthew Ronay and Teresa Solar Abboud.
Works capture the unthinking instincts of an organism, appearing to undulate, breathe, float, ooze and squidge around the architectural angles of the Hayward. Unlike most exhibitions, visitors can take a free route, rather than following a prescribed one-way system; here, the gallery’s scattered spaces lend themselves to the offbeat works of the individual artists. With the sheer size of some of the pieces, there was a risk of encroachment on another work, a danger efficiently sidestepped in Ralph Rugoff’s curation, aided by assistant curator Katie Guggenheim and curatorial assistant Anusha Mistry.
Works are otherworldly forms, inhabiting their own dystopian universe. Eva Fàbregas’ tubular pink beings writhe around their own pink-lit room. Tara Donovan’s epic, vast molecular structures could be a joyful pile of glitter balls or marine lifeforms, an eloquent argument for the fluid nature of sculpture.
Elsewhere, Holly Hendry’s pipes are snaking their way out the window, while Lynda Benglis’ viscid forms emphasise materials’ ephemeral nature. Drift’s beautiful kinetic Skylights flutter open, greeting visitors; EJ Hill, too, reflects this motion in a large-scale rollercoaster sculpture, making for a smorgasbord of sensation.
‘When Forms Come Alive: Sixty Years of Restless Sculpture’, from 7 February – 6 May 2024 at the Hayward Gallery