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Exploding fish cause delay to opening of new Hayward Show

By Rosemary Waugh

The opening of a major new exhibition by Lee Bul at the Hayward Gallery has been postponed after an artwork made of rotting fish decorated in sequins spontaneously combusted. No, really.

Titled 'Majestic Splendor' (1991-2018), the installation was originally shown in 1997 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It was removed from display after gallery-goers complained the rotting fish – maybe unsurprisingly – smelled a little too much like... rotting fish.

To deal with the super strong whiff, the pretty fishies were enclosed in plastic bags, and treated with potassium permanganate. Whilst not flammable itself, the chemical does increase the likelihood that other combustible materials will ignite.

On learning this, the Hayward decided to de-install the artwork, but whilst removing it from the walls part of it caught fire. Luckily, only a small amount of damage was caused to the gallery itself and Lee Bul’s show – tipped to be one of the biggest hits in London this year – will open to the public on 1 June.

Even with the pimped-up poisson now departed, there's still plenty of reasons to visit - giant zeppelins, otherworldly monsters and infinity mirror rooms being just a few. Seriously, don't be koi, buy a ticket. 

Lee Bul is on at the Hayward Gallery until 19 August. To find out more, click here

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