Noémie Goudal’s brilliant West End diversion

It’s that time of year when love it or hate it, whether you live in London or elsewhere in the UK, you’re likely to find yourself in the heart of the West End. If you’re planning on braving it for a spot of Christmas lights action, scoff free samples at the Christmas markets or take in one of London’s fantastic family theatre shows then I’ve got just to spot to escape the crowds.

Tucked away at the very top of The Photographers’ Gallery is a gorgeous bite size exhibition that will give you all a warm glow, without a touch of mulled wine.

In her first major solo exhibition in London, artist Noémie Goudal explores our relationship with the sky, taking inspiration from myths and legends and using research from antiquity to the Middle Ages to inform her work. By placing ambiguous shapes and constructions in the middle of some incredible landscapes, she cleverly tricks the viewer into believing that these incredible images have some kind of solar or celestial significance.  But take a closer look and you’ll see ropes, a platform or some scaffolding, holding it all together.

Whether or not you understand the theories at play here, the landscapes themselves are awe-inspiring and the space a breath of fresh air from the mayhem on the streets below.

Without doubt the centrepiece of the exhibition is an observatory-style construction where (with a bit of a lift up from you) little ones can look through and marvel at some spectacular 3D cloud images, all of which will fire their imagination and make them feel like a magical floating fairy (or elf for that matter).

For those still not convinced about combining kids and the meditative feel of London’s premiere photographic gallery. Rest assured, you won’t need to stay long. One word of advice on your way out, don’t stop for a gander on the lower floors, which are currently showing the gripping yet macabre Burden Of Proof: The Construction of Visual Evidence. A collection of war crimes photography and corpse shots from real forensics, this is definitely one for the grown ups, and even then, it’s guaranteed to give you nightmares.

Far more fun is the Camera Obscurer which can be found in the Eranda Studio on the 3rd floor. Set in a darkened room, pull back the curtain (which is exciting enough in itself) and you’ll find a small hole in the wall which projects an inverted image of the world outside onto the screen inside. More than your average camera obscura, this particular set-up has a wheel and a mirror to rotate what you might spot into a range of interesting positions. So when you finally feel ready to move on from the peace and tranquility, no matter how obscure the scene you’ve created inside, you’re all the better prepared for the chaos that awaits you back on the streets.

Noémie Goudal – Southern Light Stations is at The Photographers’ Gallery until 10th January 2016.

16–18 Ramillies Street, London W1F 7LW
Mon- Sat 10am- 6pm, Thurs 10am-8pm during exhibitions, Sun 11am-6pm. Admission free before midday (daily), £3 thereafter or £2.50 advance/concessions.

NOTE: The Photographers’ Gallery is hosting a festive family photography workshop on Sunday 6th December, 2-5pm. Free, drop-in, no advance booking required.

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