The Hayward Gallery’s latest exhibition celebrates the work of mavericks and visionaries throughout history who’ve dared to depart from the accepted notions of reality – whether artists, architects, scientists or inventors. Called Alternative Guide to the Universe, this inexhaustible cabinet of curiosities is sure to delight just about anyone – whether confirmed sceptics or budding explorers of the furthest reaches of consciousness.
Visitors will come face to face with time machines, radical theories on matter and energy, new alphabets and languages, and devices for communicating with ghosts; the exhibition’s extraordinarily wide remit means that there are new surprises around every corner.
Attendees will become acquainted with free-thinkers like Jean Perdrizet, a one-time civil engineer who spent the last 20 years of his life designing machines to facilitate contact with robots, aliens and residents of the afterlife. They’ll be able to study the eccentric theories of James Carter, who insists that gravity is an illusion and the earth doubles in size once every 19 minutes, and pore over the sadly unrealised architectural projects of Jan Gluszak – including kilometre-high buildings and floating cities.
According to curators, being able to see all of these attractions under a single roof “conjures a kind of a parallel universe where ingenuity and inventiveness trump common sense and received wisdom”.
Tickets cost £11 for adults and £9 for concessions; under-18s can get in for just £7.50 and under-12s for free. The price includes admission to the Hayward Gallery Project Space, where the Museum of Everything is presenting a special exhibit celebrating Indian artist Nek Chand’s Rock Garden – a giant outdoor sculpture constructed over five decades, entirely from scrap materials.
The exhibition runs until August 26th, so those staying in central London hotels have just a couple of months to attend. The Hayward Gallery is part of the Southbank Centre, which enjoys an accessible city centre location; those travelling via the London Underground should head towards the Waterloo and Embankment tube stops.