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Hayward Gallery Reopens with International Survey of 36 Artists
Detail of 'Half Life' by Jin Shi, Photo: David Lavene.

LONDON.- The New Décor is an international survey of 36 contemporary artists from 22 countries who explore interior design as a means of engaging with changes in contemporary culture that range from the impact of globalism to our shifting boundaries of public and private. What unites the artists is their ability to transform objects we associate with the everyday – a bed, a shelf, a lamp – into something uncanny, compelling, and revealing. Curated by Ralph Rugoff, Director of the Hayward Gallery, The New Décor is a highlight of Festival Brazil, a major summer festival celebrating the dynamic culture of today’s Brazil, sponsored by HSBC.

The 80 works in The New Décor fill the spaces of the lower gallery, hanging overhead and in unusual places. Scandinavian artists Elmgreen and Dragset have installed their humorous work Marriage – two sinks joined together by an extravagant looping drainage pipe – in the men’s toilets, and their work Boy Scout, an unusual set of bunk beds, is on show in the goods lift, accessible by walking though the gothic heavy cast aluminium doorway by artist Urs Fischer.

Over 20 different light works will illuminate visitors. Gelitin, the Austrian collective famous for turning one of the Hayward sculpture courts into a boating lake for Psycho Buildings, are creating an eerie chandelier, reminiscent of a giant spider descending from the sky, as well as other lamps made from teddy bear parts and a bespoke pot for an office plant. Martin Boyce’s Some Broken Morning provides the web for the spider with his giant geometrically shaped strip lighting which hovers above the visitor and dazzles with its luminosity. Spencer Finch’s work invites the outside inside the gallery with his cosmically beautiful work Night Sky, Over the Painted Desert, Arizona, 1/9/04, which creates a new constellation out of the glowing elements of hundreds of light bulbs.

Many of the artists in the show have been commissioned to make new works, or are remaking works specifically for the Hayward Gallery space. The Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone has created a theatrically monstrous double door for the gallery, firmly secured by a batten of wood, suggesting a fortified protection against unknown forces. Brazilian artist, Ernesto Neto, who has his own solo exhibition of work in the upper galleries, will present a re-working of his 2007 work Life is Relationship in the Hayward Foyer. For this installation, Neto has designed a screen divider and vinyl panels for the windows to create an intimate space in this public environment.

Ralph Rugoff, Director of the Hayward Gallery and curator of this exhibition said: “The New Décor challenges visitors’ perceptions of their own environment and explores a new chapter in the history of exhibitions looking at art and design. In French the word décor refers to stage sets as well as interior design, and in a similar spirit the works in this exhibition explore an arena between practicality and imagination, theatre and everyday life by drawing out the social, historical and personal stories which are embedded in the furnishings that surround us.”

Like the Hayward’s previous summer exhibitions, Psycho Buildings and Walking in My Mind, and Ernesto Neto’s exhibition, The Edges of the World, the artists in The New Décor are concerned with the evolution of our interior and exterior environments. They shed light on their experiences and ask the viewer to reconsider their own relationship to the spaces they inhabit and to look again at objects they may take for granted.

Artists include: Martin Boyce (Britain), Los Carpinteros (Cuba), Jimmie Durham (USA), Elmgreen & Dragset (Scandinavia), Gelitin (Austria), Mona Hatoum (Lebanon), Jim Lambie (Britain), Sarah Lucas (Britain), Ernesto Neto (Brazil), Ugo Rondinone (Switzerland), Doris Salcedo (Colombia), Rosemary Trockel (Germany), Tatiana Trouve (Italian), Franz West (Austrian).

Hayward Gallery | The New Décor | Ralph Rugoff |

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