15 May – 4 July
For some, the idea of magic suggests fantasy and illusion, while for others it signals a license to practice deception. Magic Show, a Hayward Touring exhibition, considers how art and magic often share common ground, and how some contemporary artists adopt the perception-shifting tactics of the theatrical magician to influence the viewer and explore the power of suggestion.
Curated by artist Jonathan Allen and writer Sally O’Reilly, Magic Show includes work by 24 international artists, with new commissions and performances, as well as an archive of historical posters and ephemera from the ‘Golden Era’ (around 1890-1930) of theatrical magic that play to the idea of the magician as the princely commander of unearthly forces. Curious props – such as a card finding duck, a staple of TV magicians of the 1970s, which belonged to Tommy Cooper – are also featured.
The exhibition demonstrates how art and magic both flourish in the grey area between fact and fiction, where the audience is not sure whether to believe their own eyes, and considers the potential of trickery and illusion to undermine logical thought. Artists represented include Janice Kerbel, Juan Muňoz, Ian Saville, Suzanne Treister, Susan Hiller and Bruce Nauman.
A Hayward Touring exhibition from Southbank Centre, London on behalf of Arts Council England.
Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sunday 12noon-5pm
Untitled (anything but a rabbit), 2006
© the artist 2009