I went along to the opening of the Alternative Guide to the Universe on 11 June, meeting lots of people from the Outsider Art world along the way – David Maclagan, Henry Boxer, John Maizels, Julia Elmore … to name but a few. I also got to meet a couple of Nek Chand’s grandchildren which was lovely as Nek Chand’s fantastic sculptures are in the upstairs part of the Hayward under the umbrella of the Museum of Everything. There’s a fascinating collection of lots of different types of his sculptures so it really is wonderful to see. There is also a short film that a volunteer made when he went out a few years ago to work with Nek Chand. This gives an insight into how the sculptures are made and thought out.
The main exhibition, in my opinion, is a bit hit and miss. Standout pieces come in the form of Marcel Storr (pictured above) – whose beautifully lit drawings I think are the star of the show. The black and white photographs of Richard Greaves installations are fascinating to look at but left me wanting to see them in the flesh and A.G. Rizzoli’s drawings of buildings were also incredible.
This exhibition is huge and there is a lot to take in and to look at the detail of so I recommend that at least half a day is set aside to look around this space with a coffee break in the middle perhaps to recollect your thoughts. I bought the catalogue for £20 which I highly recommend as there are some great essays in there on the artists.
One thing lacking in this exhibition that a lot of people have noticed whom I have spoken to, is the women artists – I think there are two in the whole exhibition which is really disappointing.
I would still recommend this exhibition (even with the hefty entrance fee). Here’s a link to further information: http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/venues/hayward-gallery/exhibitions