Sensing Spaces @ RA

I am still together, even though feeling rather fragile.
From last night’s practice, I joined the premier’s session fully and went through a yet more lactic acid inducing session. The final straw which broke my back was stop & dash drill between blue-lines. In the end, I was panting like an animal on all fours.
Then, I left my stick on the car roof while stuffing a kit bag into the rear seat. By the time I settled into a driving seat and started the engine, about the stick left on the roof was completely forgotten. So when I performed a three-point turn and headed up the street on the right way around, I heard a loud noise *CRANG*! Did I ram into a car?? I stopped the car and froze like a frightened rabbit, ‘What the hell?!’ Then it dawned on me that it was the stick on the roof. Surely enough, I could see in my rear mirror that the poor stick in question lying on Tarmac in the distance. It was lucky that no car was behind me. Shaking my head, I trotted to retrieve my stick…

It had been quite a while since I visited the exhibition, Sensing Spaces, at the Royal Academy with my lovely friend, Fei Wang.
Fei arrived at the venue earlier than me and bought tickets for both of us. It was almost 5pm which meant we would only had an hour to spare and therefore we headed straight to the exhibits without consulting the leaflet we were given at the entrance.

The space created by Grafton Architects…


The space resembled an elaborate underground bunker or a tomb. Thick concrete slab-like structures hovered above us, defying gravity, reminding me the scene from the original Total Recall.

The next space was a work by Pezo von Ellrichshausen…


A towering structure, resembling a Greek temple, were made of rough-hewn timber.

A viewing platform was hoisted up by four robust columns…


Yet, the inside of each sumptuous column was in fact hollow and occupied by a spiral staircase…


On the platform, we discovered that some parts of the timber wall were cut out to reveal the gilded angels on the cornice adorning the original space…


The next exhibit was created by Diébédo Francis Kéré…


A semi-opaque tunnel was bridging two original gallery spaces.
Upon our close inspection, the structure’s main material turned out to be polycarbonate sheeting with honeycomb like profile.

Thin long plastic straws in various colours were stocked together by the tunnel, offering exhibition visitors to participate in decorating its external & internal space by connecting the straws to it…


We took a few straws and did our contribution. Wished if we had more time so we could wrestle out something more original…


A riot of fluorescent colours was mesmerizing…


Walking through a “hairy” tunnel…


Then, we entered a work by Li Xiaodong…


The structure was designed like a maze and an illuminated white translucent path reminded us a scene from Stanley Kubrick’s Shining…


The walls were made from thin twigs clustered tightly together…


How strange I felt when my own shadow was removed from the underneath. Rather unsettling and otherworldly. Do you remember the room in 2001: Space Odyssey?


A small hut was tucked around the passage and a woman inside was working with her iPad in there…


Amongst all great exhibits, the most spectacular one had to be Kengo Kuma’s…


Inside the darkened gallery, a dainty willow twig-like objects were standing in row…


The individual twig was illuminated by a tiny light bulbs from underneath…


So delicate and organic. The way the objects were lit up was such, they resembled wisps of golden vapour rising from the ground…


The effect was absolutely magical….


The exhibition will end this weekend. If you are around in Central London and haven’t been there yet, why don’t you make detour to RA? I can’t recommend the show highly enough. And please allocate more than an hour because we ended up sprinting between the galleries towards the end. Oops!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

8 thoughts on “Sensing Spaces @ RA

  1. The one by Kengo Kuma looks very interesting. I think I could stare at it for hours. Hope your body has been more accustomed to more physically demanding challenges so you can recover faster. 🙂

    • I wish if we had more time with Kengo Kuma’s installation. However, the gallery was closing in 5 minutes time and the staff was chasing us out! About my aches, they are a lot better, thanks. Let’s see how I feel after next tuesday’s torture… 😉

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