Most of the work in the Hayward Gallery’s current exhibition, Invisible: Art About the Unseen 1957-2012, consists of empty spaces and inconspicuous things. There’s a plinth that Andy Warhol once stood atop, invisible ink drawings, and a movie that supposedly took two years to make, shot with an empty camera. One room has its four walls covered with blank sheets of paper, claiming that its viewer will have a different experience while looking at each one. Yves Klein’s proposal for an “architecture of air” makes an appearance, as does Jeppe Hein’s Invisible Labrynth. Tom Friedman has a few works on view, too, including 1,000 Hours of Staring (a large blank piece of paper the artist stared at for five years), 11 × 22 × .005 (an erased centerfold of a girlie magazine that recently sold for $32,500 at a Christie’s auction), and Untitled (A Curse) (an eleven-inch space eleven inches above a pedestal that was cursed by a witch).
Sound crazy? It is, but like Seinfeld’s 180 episodes of nothing, there’s something fantastic about the notion, especially in relation to art. Many works in the show speak volumes about the implicit rules and customs that inform how art is traditionally understood. Invisibility is also utilized as a metaphor for hidden information, or as a symbol of the need to use one’s imagination when looking at certain creative endeavors.
Artists Yoko Ono, Robert Barry, Jay Chung, Song Dong, Carsten Höller, Tehching Hsieh, Bruno Jakob, Chris Burden, and Gianni Motti also contribute to the fifty-piece exhibit. Our top favorite: Maurizio Cattelan’s police report investigating his claim that an invisible sculpture had been stolen from the trunk of his car.
Invisible: Art About the Unseen 1957-2012 is on view at the Hayward Gallery until August 5.