Solid Air at Hamburger Bahnhof

It is never a good thing to be left speechless by an exhibition when you are meant to be writing about it, but all I can think after Anthony McCall’s “Five Minutes of Pure Sculpture” at the Hamburger Bahnhof is: Wow. That was amazing. This is not an exhibition to be described but to be experienced. It’s almost like stepping into another being.

Scared of the dark?

When you first enter you are yourself, blindly stumbling along, worrying you will bump into someone or something whilst checking out the white light lines on the floor. As your eyes adjust to the dark everything becomes a lot clearer. You no longer look at the patterns on the floor but the different shapes extending up to the ceiling or across the room. You become captured and your mind lets go of reality.

Are you solid or am I?

In the dark room you let go of all your inhibitions, no one can see you and you feel almost like a sceptre drifting through walls. The whole time I was in there my eyes wouldn’t believe that this was not a solid sculpture. My hands kept reaching out to touch something but the satisfying feeling never came and like a ghost it went straight through the wall of light. I knew I would never feel anything but kept reaching out anyway!

anthony mccall, hamburger bahnhof, five minutes of pure sculpture
So aliens do exist! Anthony McCall “Between You and I, 2006” Installation view at Peer/The Round Chapel, London 2006, Photo: Hugo Glendinning.

People are lying on the floor in a circle of light; they look protected by a strong, impermeable circle, or like they are about to be beamed up to another planet! Others are sitting in the middle of a teepee made of strong silky material and I am watching people walk through water as I float amongst clouds. This illusion is created by the atmosphere which is filled with a strange, swirling mist only visible via the walls of light.

Come back!

Looking around the pitch black room there is a peaceful atmosphere. I feel relaxed and want to stay here forever. The feeling is disappearing and I want to hold on to it, but I know I can’t and this is really sad! My advice is: Try different angles and distances, in front behind and to the side, you never know where you will end up, under a tipi or walking through water? When it’s over cheer yourself up with something solid! A cake next door by the Spree?

Hamburger Bahnhof Anthony McCall “Five Minutes of Pure Sculpture”, April 20th – August 12th 2012, Tue – Fri: 10am – 6pm, Sat: 11am – 8pm, Sun: 11am – 6pm.