Sotheby's Museum Network

A New Hayward Gallery Sees the Light of Day

INSTALLATION VIEW OF ANDREAS GURSKY AT THE HAYWARD GALLERY (2018) © Mark Blower


London - Ever since it rose on the industrial South Bank in 1968, the Hayward Gallery has embraced challenging architecture. The artist Henry Moore, an advisor on the original building, demanded unusual pyramid skylights on the roof, while architects Dennis Crompton, Warren Chalk and Ron Herron made bold use of the sculptural potential of concrete. Fifty years on, the gallery has reopened after a two-year refurbishment which returns the gallery to the architects' original intentions.

DETAIL OF SIXTY MINUTE SPECTRUM, ROOFLINE OF THE HAYWARD GALLERY (2017) © Morley Von Sternberg


The refreshed galleries open with a retrospective of work by German photographer Andreas Gursky, spanning four decades of his career. Early depictions of rural fishing expeditions in Mülheim and football matches in Zurich from the 1980s lead on to photographs such as 99 Cent (1999), a representation of a Los Angeles supermarket, that made Gursky’s name in the 1990s. In the upper galleries, Rhine II (1999) is a manipulated photograph of a stretch of the river near his hometown of Düsseldorf. It became the most expensive photograph sold at auction when it made $4.3m in New York in 2011. More recent works taken in the USA and Japan demonstrate Gursky’s ability to create unified works out of multiple images, seamlessly spliced together to produce an illusion of equal focus throughout.

ANDREAS GURSKY

ANDREAS GURSKY, 99 CENT (1999/2009) COURTESY: SPRÜTH MAGERS


“We were planning to do this show before we closed the building, but I’m incredibly glad that we waited,” says Ralph Rugoff, the director of the gallery. “When you walk in here you know you’re having an experience of architecture. It’s a surprising building and there are moments as you walk around when you’re not exactly sure which way you’re supposed to go next. This is also true of Andreas’s work.”

ANDREAS GURSKY HAYWARD GALLERY

INSTALLATION VIEW OF ANDREAS GURSKY AT THE HAYWARD GALLERY (2018) © Mark Blower


The redevelopment, overseen by architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, is a major overhaul of the Brutalist building’s key features. As well as a new bar, shop and project space, the terrazzo floors have been replaced and the concrete walls have been thoroughly cleaned. Most importantly, the drop ceiling that for decades blocked out natural light has been removed, uncovering the skylights Moore wanted to let “God’s good light” in.

INSTALLATION VIEW OF ANDREAS GURSKY AT THE HAYWARD GALLERY (2018) © Mark Blower


The result is a set of upper floor galleries flooded with natural light. “Finally it feels like these spaces have the proportion they were always meant to have,” Rugoff explains. “The genius of this building has been fully revealed.”

Gursky is keen to point out the ways in which the Hayward’s redesign complements his practice, and says he wanted to avoid adding temporary walls for the show. “You can see in my images I have a close interest in architecture, so I didn’t want to interfere too much,” he says. The interaction between the Hayward building and visiting artists will continue, with artist David Batchelor’s Sixty Minute Spectrum (2017) lighting up the pyramids in a different colour every hour. An exhibition of the work of Korean artist Lee Bul opening in May will investigate the human body’s relationship to Modern architecture.

FOR MORE ON ANDREAS GURSKY'S PHOTOGRAPHIC REVOLUTION, VISIT SOTHEBYS.COM.

INSTALLATION OF ANDREAS GURSKY AT THE HAYWARD GALLERY (2018) Photo: Linda Nylind


Key Moments in Hayward History

9 July 1968 – Queen Elizabeth II opens the doors of the Hayward Gallery with a Matisse retrospective.

1994 – The Richard Rogers Partnership are announced as the winners of an international architecture competition to renovate the building – but the plans come to nothing.

2003 – The Hayward Gallery closes in January through to October as a new foyer is built, which features the Waterloo Sunset glass pavilion by artist Dan Graham.

2006 – Ralph Rugoff becomes director of the Hayward Gallery.

2007 – For his exhibition Blind Light, sculptor Antony Gormley places human figures on the rooftops of the Hayward Gallery and on nearby buildings.

2015 – The Hayward Gallery closes for refurbishment, which is undertaken by architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.

2018 – The Hayward Gallery reopens.

HAYWARD GALLERY INTERIOR (2018) © Morley Von Sternberg

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