Even though London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, it can also be very economically-accessible, with a wide variety of art that can be experienced without parting with any cash, from public art to free exhibitions.
One such annual art event that embraces both the cultural diversity and rich history of London without costing the general public a penny to enjoy is Art Night. Presenting new commissions, performances and one-off artist projects by 12 internationally-renowned artists, this one-night only event most definitely needs to be on your summer to-do list.
Following the traditions and indeed successes of the previous editions – last year a number of iconic and unknown architectural spaces in London’s east end were enlivened through the art commissions – the free arts festival engages in London’s urban sprawl to explore the history, culture and architecture of a city that is for ever-changing.
To really delve into the city’s fabric and more specifically the pyhchogeography along the Thames, Art Night again partners with one of London’s top cultural institutions, this year it’s the recently reopened Hayward Gallery who are also celebrating their 50th anniversary.
From the South Bank, through Vauxhall, along Nine Elms to Battersea Power Station, the 12 art interventions that consider either the idea of ‘home’ or the ‘urban landscape’ vary from Prem Sahib’s installation in a Vauxhall park and Marinella Senatore’s participatory performance to Anthea Hamilton’s augmented reality experience at Battersea Power Station and Jeremy Deller’s new musical collaboration.
The curatorial team led by Hayward Gallery director Ralph Rugoff were inspired by the gallery’s immediate local area and wanted the commissions to explore, ‘the emotional and political associations of “home”, including residency, refuge and security.’ Some of the commissions also reflect on London’s gardening history.
So what can you expect to encounter on this night-time art extravaganza? Let us guide you through some of the most exciting highlights from this year’s edition.
Projected on the exterior of the Hayward Gallery will be the Taiwanese artist’s video work, Dwelling (2014) that shows a living room exploding in slow motion.
The Turkish artist will present Space Refugee (2016) that focusses on the first Syrian Cosmonaut, Muhammed Ahmed Faris who is now a refugee in Turkey.
A series of live performances by the artist and activist will activate the newly reopened Garden Museum. Using dance, poetry and rap, Wynter will broach themes including politics, labour and sexuality.
The young Georgian artist who represented his country at last year’s Venice Biennale, will present his video installation, Life Track (2015) along the Art Night trail at an as yet undisclosed venue.
Staging the final episode of her ongoing installation and video work, Amos’ World, Evans invites Art Night visitors to partake in live taping at her fabricated TV set at Spectrecom Studio’s.
Henderson will present a botanically-inspired musical performance in the market that draws on the taxonomies of plants.
The young Chinese artist will create a virtual reality project that invites the Art Night audience to a session of ‘lifestyle hypnotism’ in an environment that defies the laws of gravity.
Art Night will take place in various locations along the Thames from the South Bank to Nine Elms on Saturday July 7, 2018 from 6pm to 6am. Free.
Want to see more art in London? Here are the most exciting events happening in the capital this spring and summer.