Monday, 30 July 2007

Yes, I'm lost

I think I'm standing all alone. All I can see in front of me is white stuff. I'm beginning to panic slightly and can feel tension rising in my chest then someone's elbow suddenly hoves into view. Almost hits me in the face. Then there's a laugh and the owner of the elbow just as suddenly disappears. I have no idea where I am. I try to remember where the doorway is and the friend I came in to this space with! So, do I go on into the unknown, or make my way back through the unknown to the doorway that represents safety?

No, I'm not leaving yet, I think. I'm going to be brave and keep on exploring this space but I feel more or less paralysed by fear. I reach my hand out to find the edge, the glass that's defining this space and suddenly the experience is too frightening and I need to leave. The white stuff is like a dense cloud, sort of like wet cotton wool and is all encompassing - it feels as though it is inside me as well as outside me. The experience is so disorienting and my expectations have been so thoroughly turned upside down that the white cloud actually feels heavy to move through and all I can see is white, white, white.

I'm not describing a nightmare, nor I am stuck in a blizzard. I have been experiencing Antony Gormley's White Light which is on at the Hayward Gallery on the South Bank in London. This exhibit is a cloud-filled glass box where you can lose yourself and is definitely the hands on part of the exhibition since that's the only part of your body that will give you any idea of where you are and only then when you bump into something or someone.

I can't describe it better than Antony Gormley so I quote: 'Architecture is supposed to be the location of security and certainty about where you are. It is supposed to protect you from the weather, from darkness, from uncertainty. Blind Light undermines all of that. You enter this interior space that is the equivalent of being on top of a mountain or at the bottom of the sea. It is very important for me that inside it you find the outside. Also you become the immersed figure in an endless ground, literally the subject of the work.'

So if you fancy trying out the modern day equivalent to a ride on a ghost train the exhibition continues until 19 August.

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