Anthony McCall: Solid Light Works Exhibition at The Hepworth Wakefield

One of those posts today where we tell you that our photos are no good and that firsthand experience will forever be better than any camera will ever be able to replicate. We went to The Hepworth Wakefield for the day to stand in the darkness and simultaneously in absolute awe at the power of light. 

Our first experience of Anthony McCall's work was only quite recently as a piece of his work was part of the Going Public show that was held in various galleries in our hometown of Sheffield in 2016. 

Solid Light Works is the first major UK exhibition for Anthony McCall in over a decade, although his work has been travelling all over the world. 

Anthony McCall: Solid Light Works at the Hepworth Wakefield.

Walking into (near) pitch-black galleries we're introduced to projections of shapes that form line drawings on the far walls. The lights journey across the room takes on different forms as it turns from the pinpoint at the projector to the design at the other end - viewers are invited to explore the shapes by walking through the rays of light. The result is that you feel cocooned in the beams, their shape exaggerated by a small amount of smoke deployed by smoke-machines, that dances and swirls across the light. 

Anthony McCall: Solid Light Works at the Hepworth Wakefield.
Anthony McCall: Solid Light Works at the Hepworth Wakefield.

We spent a good few hours in the various chambers, trying repeatedly to grab hold of the light because it looks so tangible - the work makes light sculptural and you can bend it with your fingers. It's so simple and yet can trigger all kinds of questions about visibility and reality. 

Anthony McCall: Solid Light Works at the Hepworth Wakefield.
Anthony McCall: Solid Light Works at the Hepworth Wakefield.
Anthony McCall: Solid Light Works at the Hepworth Wakefield.
Anthony McCall: Solid Light Works at the Hepworth Wakefield.
Anthony McCall: Solid Light Works at the Hepworth Wakefield.

In the other galleries are the working sketches and calculations of how McCall builds the works, including initial illustrations and some beautiful documents relating to past works. There's a couple of huge silver gelatin prints that are INCREDIBLE and a video showing his work on an even larger scale covering the entire city of Hamburg, Germany. 

Anthony McCall: Solid Light Works at the Hepworth Wakefield.
Anthony McCall: Solid Light Works at the Hepworth Wakefield.
Hepworth Wakefield by Haarkon. Anthony McCall: Solid Light Works.
Anthony McCall: Solid Light Works at the Hepworth Wakefield.
Anthony McCall: Solid Light Works at the Hepworth Wakefield.
Anthony McCall: Solid Light Works at the Hepworth Wakefield.

As we mentioned at the beginning of this post there's nothing we can do to replicate the act of actually experiencing this exhibition. You have to go. You have to stand in front of the projectors and put your hands out and you have to learn the shape of your face via your silhouette. It's also a great place for families; it's a really playful kind of art and a free day out for parents and children alike. It's on until June and we will absolutely be revisiting just because we can. 

Visit The Hepworth Wakefield's website for visitor information. 

Visit Anthony McCall's website for more information about his work.