Earlier in the week I attended a Southbank Centre member showing of the two new exhibitions at the Hayward Gallery – Diane Arbus ‘In The Beginning’ and Kader Attia ‘The Museum of Emotion’.
Arbus has become world-renowned for her photography in the 1950s and 1960s, and there are many varied examples here, from curious babies to female impersonators, young men to old women, circus performers to commuters.
Across two galleries her work is arranged on white columns, so you can choose your own route: however, I felt this arrangement may not suit the smaller photographs which require some serious study and would benefit from a bit more space in which to observe them.
Around two thirds of the work on show has not been seen outside New York before, which makes this a valuable retrospective. A range of books showcasing Arbus’ work are available for sale.
Downstairs, across six rooms, is the multimedia work of Attia, a French artist whose work in photography, video, sculpture and repurposed objects makes comment on the state of politics and the world at large.
Whether you see the video installation of the Robespierre Tower estate, the room of African masks and Great War artifacts, the photographs of transgender subjects, or the films looking back on the 1980 Gwangju massacre in South Korea, this exhibition remains interesting.
A book and exhibition catalogue relating to Attia’s work are available.
Both exhibitions run until May 6. The Hayward Gallery is part of the Southbank Centre, and can be found on the upper level. There are cloakroom facilities plus a shop and cafe.