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10 March 2015

See History Is Now at the Hayward Gallery

A couple of weeks ago, your author found time on a sunny Sunday for a walk to the Hayward Gallery, to see History Is Now: 7 Artists Take On Britain, an incoherent exhibition reflecting on Britain in the run up to the General Election. The result is seven completely separate exhibitions not linked by any theme, but featuring some interesting collections of things John Akomfrah, Simon Fujiwara, Roger Hiorns, Hannah Starkey, Richard Wentworth and Jane and Louise Wilson made or found, with an almost-invisible theme of current-affairs-from-the-last-fifty-years-or-so.

The lack of any real structure isn't necessarily a bad thing, although some of the artists clearly just offered whatever was lying around in the studio when they were approached with the cheque book. In other places - such as with Simon Fujiwara's collection of objects - the interest of exhibition is more as an examination of the artist's brain through the prism of object choices, which is interesting in its own way. This, together with Roger Hiorns' exploration of the BSE epidemic and vCJD, makes the whole thing feel at times much more museum than art gallery, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing, and the point is driven home by the Bloodhound surface-to-air missile on the roof, presumably meant to make us reflect on war, rather than just think "Awesome...".

For more, see http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/history-is-now-7-artists-take-88866

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