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London’s South Bank is about to sparkle with luminous outdoor art

Winter Light is brightening up the famous stretch

Written by
Laura Richards

The South Bank is usually humming with Christmas cheer at this time of year as people from London and beyond flock to the riverside stretch to soak up the atmosphere of festive markets and the fumes of mulled wine. This year, it’s been looking a bit barren. But this should brighten things up a treat: the Southbank Centre has announced that it’ll be displaying an open-air art exhibition throughout the colder months. 

Winter Light will feature 17 commissions using light and colour and taking over the buildings and Riverside Walk. Installations will be added in waves, with the first arriving this Friday (November 20) – they’re all totally free to view, socially distanced and on display in the great outdoors. Works will continue to be added until the new year, and will last until the end of February – making London’s darkest months all the brighter.  

southbank centre winter lights
Photograph: Katie Paterson, Totality, 2019, Southbank Centre

Works will include a multicoloured neon canopy by David Ogle weaving through the trees, a mirrorball in the Hayward Gallery foyer by Katie Paterson and a series of large-scale videos projected on to the Royal Festival Hall. Other artists involved in the dazzling project include Simeon Barclay, David Batchelor, James Clar, Shezad Dawood and Kota Ezawa.

So you can still have a glitzy Christmas catch-up this year. Grab a takeaway mulled wine and get going. 

Winter Lights is at the Southbank Centre (outside and along the South Bank) from Nov 20-Feb 28 2021.  

Missing exhibitions? Check out all this outdoor art in London

Waterloo Bridge is also about to get lit.

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