In my previous post on the Carsten Holler exhibition, I mentioned that we would return with my daughter. We did so this weekend and we all had a fantastic time.
Readers may recall the overriding sense of enjoyment from the previous visit. This seems to have translated into word of mouth and ticket sales. We arrived at 9.45 and the place was already teeming with families with young children.
Taking the staff at their word regarding beating the queues, we went through the entrance ducts and straight up to the roof terrace overlooking to Waterloo Bridge and the National Theatre to try out the “Two Flying Machines”. These were heavily oversubscribed last time around with lengthy queues, so we pleased when we were the first two people on the terrace.
You climb into a full body harness and are then clipped onto the machine. You make a leap of faith about 3metres above the concrete paving slabs and grab what appears like the frame from a hang glider. You then circle the terrace enjoying the river views. Holler’s thinking is to make those people in the machines be the focus of attention suspended in the air “like a bag of potatoes.” Certainly my rotations weren’t graceful initially but eventually I relaxed and enjoyed the experience. My daughter who regularly climbs and jumps off things unsurprisingly had none of my inhibitions or reticence.
We went through the rest of the exhibition, marvelling at the many children and families lapping it up.
I found that I took to the “Upside Down Goggles” like a natural with my tentativeness from my first visit a distant memory. I was able to move about the other terrace without stumbling.
The one installation I did get much more out of this time round was “The Forests”. Wearing a 3D headset and headphones, the visitor is taken on a trip through a cold night time forest. As your trip through the woods progresses, your vision is split into two and you progress around both sides of a single tree. I’m not sure how this one relates to the decision theme of the exhibition but I found it a restful five minutes.
We slid out the exhibition via the steel tubes. My daughter wanted to go back straight back in and do it all over again. We headed down to the back of the Royal Festival Hall to the Real Food Market. I’ve been craving a good curry for a while and I had one of the best ever at the Curry Shack. I had the Mauritian Chicken Curry, made with good quality thigh meat and lovely whole spices. You can sample the curries before you purchase. The Mauritian was the mildest, the Caribbean had a real kick and I didn’t try the most spicy Cajun curry.
This is the last exhibition at the Hayward Gallery before it closes for two years for refurbishment. There’s still a week to go. It would be a shame to miss it.
But if you don’t make the exhibition, the Curry Shack at the Street Food market is well worth the visit.