The Hayward gallery is usually ten leaps ahead of the more mainstream Tate Modern. At the Hayward, fresh, thought-provoking and superbly curated shows that use both interior and exterior spaces to dramatic effect are the norm. Don’t be put off by the weak and irrelevant Jeff Koons sculpture, Bear and Policeman (1988) that advertises the Human Factor, incidentally one of the oldest pieces here. This exhibition will deliver thrills and spills to all.
The thought of contemporary sculpture, particularly of the figurative kind, can be tiring. Not because it isn’t good – it is – but because we’re full to the gills with stuffed bunnies from Sarah Lucas, children with genitals on their faces from the Chapman Brothers, headless figures in batik from Yinka Shonibare and various takes on his own body by Antony Gormley, to name a few big guns on the scene. All too often body sculpture is made of wire, dirt and straw, or skinny distressed metal, or abstract pitted rock. Desperate to escape the tyranny of marble, the work becomes purely reactive. Not here. Creativity flourishes.
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