Southbank Centre’s Festival of Love will return this summer from 6 June – 31 August. The entire 21-acre site will be transformed with an array of playful indoor and outdoor free installations and exhibitions, with many brand-new commissions, that will explore human love in its many forms.
Installations include Arcadia, a large scale, jewel-coloured pavilion that will connect the riverside and upper level outside the Royal Festival Hall; Provocations, a newly-commissioned artwork from Turner Prize nominee Mark Titchner which will be on display above the Queen Elizabeth Hall main entrance; Ludus Folly, a mirrored maze whose shape is based on diagrams of the chemicals produced when we are in love and The People, the first display of British actor Jim Broadbent’s sculpture work.
Free exhibitions include Love and Liquid Fire, a large exhibition of 40 iconic neon signs by artist and designer Chris Bracey; Wot? No Fish!! a display of illustrated wage packets that inspired the acclaimed bread&circuses theatre production and One Nation Under a Groove, a selection of over 100 images from the Photographic Youth Music & Culture Archive.
INSTALLATIONS AND EXHIBITIONS
(On display from 6 June – 31 August, unless specified)
LOVE FLAGS BY MARK TITCHNER
Until 27 June, across Southbank Centre’s site
Originally commissioned for the first Festival of Love in 2014, Turner Prize nominee Mark Titchner’s kaleidoscopic Love Flags return to the site this summer. These flags combine the lovers knot with the colours of the rainbow, symbolising the work of the peace and gay pride movements. The artist refers to the word ‘Love’ as “sincere and cynical, sacred and profane, tender and devastating.” Love Flags is also animated and can be seen on screens across the site.
PROVOCATIONS BY MARK TITCHNER
Until 27 June, Queen Elizabeth Hall exterior
Created in response to Nelson Mandela’s legendary quote “People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love,” Mark Titcher’s newly-commissioned banner Provocations will adorn the Queen Elizabeth Hall main entrance.
THE PEOPLE BY JIM BROADBENT
Royal Festival Hall, Level 4 Green Side
Academy-award winner Jim Broadbent is one of Britain’s best-loved character actors. In his spare time, he is also a keen sculptor and will exhibit his sculpture work for the very first time at Festival of Love. His installation The People consists of 21 carved wooden sculptures depicting the human form, each dressed in different clothes and with their own very distinct characters. Each figure gazes at us with a disarming directness that Jim sees as simultaneously vulnerable, sad and defiant.
ARCADIA BY POLYLESTER
Until 27 September, Riverside Terrace, Queen’s Walk
Artist Gabriel Lester and architect Martine Vledder of Amsterdam-based studio PolyLester create a majestic pavilion in front of Royal Festival Hall. Connecting three levels of the pedestrian walkway, the walls of the Arcadia pavilion are made from jewel-coloured plastic strips that evoke the stained glass windows in a cathedral and invite visitors to enter from every direction. Intended as a space for peace, love and contemplation, PolyLester believe that, just like their pavilion, “A heart should be colourful, open and light to let in love.”
LOVE AND LIQUID FIRE BY CHRIS BRACEY
Royal Festival Hall, Level 2
Artist and designer Chris Bracey was the creator of Soho’s iconic neons and the owner of God’s Own Junkyard in Walthamstow, the gallery of his life’s work and the biggest collection of neon lighting and signage in Europe. During Festival of Love, 40 of Chris Bracey’s neon works from recent years will be on display in the Royal Festival Hall. Three cases of photographs and drawings revealing Chris’ working process will be available to view, as well as the short film Neon Men, produced by Spine TV, which explores his life behind the lights.
ONE NATION UNDER A GROOVE: AN EXHIBITION FROM YOUTH CLUB FEATURING PHOTOGRAPHY FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHIC YOUTH MUSIC & CULTURE ARCHIVE
An exhibition of photography from the Photographic Youth Music & Culture Archive; a unique archive of photographs sourced from all over the world that document the lifestyles, fashions, hairstyles, music and subcultures of young people from the 1940s to the present day. This exhibition explores various types of love, friendship and closeness within musical subcultures including Mods, Punks, Disco, Funk and Rave.
LOVE STORY BY RICHARD WOODS
Festival Village exterior
Crossing the boundaries between art, architecture and design, artist Richard Woods’ work is often made of up exaggerated representations of traditional British architectural and interior motifs such as wooden flooring and chintz wallpapers. For Festival of Love, Woods will create the site-specific installation Love Story, adorning the Queen Elizabeth Hall’s original 1960s concrete walls with his signature cartoon-style cladding, creating a colourful façade that draws attention to this hidden venue.
WOT!! NO FISH!!: AN EXHIBITION OF DRAWINGS BY AB SOLOMONS
Festival Village (Lower Level)
In 1926 shoemaker Ab Solomons drew on a wage packet and gave it to his new wife Celie, continuing this tradition throughout their marriage right up until 1982. Years later, Ab’s great nephew Danny Braverman discovered this lost collection of over 3000 illustrated wage packets that depict the ups and downs of family life, from falling in love to quarrels about fish balls. The collection of drawings was the inspiration for the acclaimed theatre production Wot? No Fish!! a bread&circuses theatre production by Danny Braverman and Nick Philippou which will take place from 5 – 15 August in the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
REVERIE BY NIKE SAVVAS
Royal Festival Hall, Level 2, Central Bar and Ballroom Balcony
Australian artist Nike Savvas is renowned for her colourful and physically immersive art installations. The site-specific installation Reverie will consist of thousands of brightly coloured ribbons that will ripple across the ceiling of the Royal Festival Hall, creating an undulating field of colour. The artist describes herself as a painter who paints outside of the canvas, with the continual movement of the ribbons “like hundreds of different paintings being made around you.”
ADOPTING BRITAIN: 70 YEARS OF BRITISH MIGRATION
Until Sunday 6 September, Spirit Level at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall
Adopting Britain is an interactive, accessible exhibition about immigration that celebrates the positive contribution of refugees and migrants to Britain’s artistic and cultural landscape. Presented by Southbank Centre in partnership with Counterpoints Arts, Adopting Britain shares ways in which, in the midst of Islamophobia and hostility towards immigration, people have reached out to communities that are stitched into the fabric of Britain. Sharing personal stories that range from the 1950s British recruitment campaigns in the Caribbean to Indian sub-continent and Eastern European migration that continues today, Adopting Britain highlights the stories behind migration; why individuals and communities came, what they brought with them, the welcome they received and the process of building a life in a new country.
LUDUS FOLLY BY SIMON & TOM BLOOR
Until 27 September, Mandela Walk
Artists Simon & Tom Bloor are inspired by histories of play and the urban environment. Taking influence from Eighteenth Century Romantic landscape traditions and Twentieth Century art and architecture Ludus Folly is an architectural sculpture which will explore the chemistry of flirtatious love within mirrored walls, a maze and tower. The shape of the structure is based on diagrams for Serotonin and Dopamine, chemicals associated with happiness, pleasure and excitement that are produced when we are both at play and in love.
LOVE THE YARN BY LASMIN SALMON IN COLLABORATION WITH CELIA PYM
Royal Festival Hall, Level 4 Blue Bar
Textile artists Lasmin Salmon and Celia Pym work with wool to create vibrant, sensuous artworks. For Festival of Love they have developed a process of shared knitting, working side-by-side and gradually adding individually knitted pieces to a larger work. Visitors are invited to participate and knit with the artists to add to this large-scale piece of textile art, which will grow larger throughout the course of the festival. No knitting experience necessary, all welcome.
STRETCH & SQUEEZE BY LINDA BELL IN COLLABORATION WITH SAM HAYNES
Royal Festival Hall, Level 3 Promenade, Blue Side
Artist Linda Bell creates intricate, interactive art works which explore the tactile qualities of different materials. Stretch & Squeeze brings Linda together with artist Sam Hynes to create site-specific sculptures that will stretch out along the Royal Festival Hall.
PULSE AND BLOOM BY SHILO SIV SULEMAN
Royal Festival Hall, Level 4 Lift Lobby, Blue Side
The Lotus flower is one of the world’s earliest spiritual symbols and references beauty, prosperity and fertility in many Asian cultures and religions. The installation Pulse and Bloom created by artist Shilo Siv Suleman consists of giant fabricated lotuses that glow in response to human interaction. Each lotus is equipped with two pulse sensors that when pressed by one or two participants translates their heartbeats into pulsing LED lights, illuminating the stem and petals in a rhythmic pattern. As the stem pulses with both heartbeats, heart rates of different people in intimate spaces start to beat in sync with the effect becoming increasingly meditative as more people interact with the lotuses.
Royal Festival Hall, Level 3 foyers
In the short films screened in these kiosks many different types of human love can be seen, from the love between siblings to unexpected friendship developing between strangers. The kiosks have been designed by architecture and design practice Lyn Atelier, with the furniture designed by Restoration Station, a Shoreditch based social enterprise that restores vintage furniture and provides training for people recovering from addiction.
DIL PHAINK: AN INSTALLATION BY PEACHNICHE
Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall
This installation is an audiovisual showcase by PeaceNiche that covers aspects of Pakistani street culture, cult cinema, visual memory and matters of the heart. PeaceNiche are a Pakistan-based organisation promotes democratic discourse and conflict resolution through intellectual and cultural engagement. Presented in partnership with British Council.
VESPERS BY JONES & BULLEY
Royal Festival Hall, Level 2 Foyer
Jones and Bulley are an artist duo whose collaborative practice explores the boundaries of sound art, music and composition. For Festival of Love they will create Vespers, an installation which celebrates digital creativity and togetherness. Jones and Bulley will create unique scores that are created using threads of content captured from the web. Visitors to Southbank Centre will also be able to watch the score's live formation in the Royal Festival Hall via a physical interactive digital installation, with each score performed live as part of the festival programme.
INBETWEEN BY SARAH CARNE
Across Southbank Centre’s site
Sarah Carne has been co-commissioned by People United, an arts charity which explores arts & social change, to be artist-in-residence for Festival of Love. Sarah will examine psychologist Barbara Fredrickson’s description of love as “micro moments of positive connection” between strangers and those closest to us. Working with Southbank Centre staff, Sarah will create these moments in film, spoken word and text.
ROOF GARDEN AT SOUTHBANK CENTRE’S QUEEN ELIZABETH HALL
Open until late September, 10am until 10pm daily (weather dependent)
The Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden, designed by the Eden Project and maintained by Grounded Ecotherapy gardeners, is a true oasis at the heart of Southbank Centre, with stunning riverside views, a cafe bar run by Company of Cooks (also open 10am to 10pm daily, depending on weather), a wildflower meadow, mini allotments and a woodland garden.
JEPPE HEIN’S APPEARING ROOMS FOUNTAIN
Open now until 27 September, outside Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall
Jeppe Hein’s Appearing Rooms makes a welcome return this summer. Combining sculpture with architecture and technology to playfully solicit the viewer’s direct participation, jets of water shoot into the air, creating 'rooms' that disappear as quickly as they emerge, inviting visitors to try their luck at predicting its next move. This aquatic sculpture was first installed in 2007.
SOUTHBANK CENTRE’S LOVE BEACH
Open now until 27 September, Queen’s Walk
Southbank Centre’s popular riverside urban beach returns.