06 October - 11 December 2005
With 700 million people travelling internationally each year, tourism has become the largest industry in the world. But why do we travel and what do we hope to discover when we reach our destinations?
How universal is the experience of tourism - from place, to culture to person ? Is our compulsion to explore the world around us aiding its destruction? Will contemporary art and architecture ever replace natural wonders and ancient monuments as attractions?
Universal Experience: Art, Life and the Tourist’s Eye explored these questions and others through the work of 50 international contemporary artists from across the globe. Together, they reveal how tourism is not only transforming the world we inhabit, but revolutionising the way we see and understand our surroundings at home and abroad.
Both an exploration of the phenomenon of global tourism and an adventure and attraction in itself, Universal Experience occupied the entire Hayward Gallery and sites across the South Bank Centre. Spectacular installations and sculptures, large-scale film projections and intimate photographs and videos transported visitors on a journey to real and imagined spaces and places, backwards and forwards through recent history.
Among the artists featured were: Doug Aitken, Darren Almond, Chris Burden, Maurizio Cattelan, Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Thomas Hirschhorn, Jeff Koons, Gabriel Orozco, Robert Smithson, Thomas Struth, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Zhan Wang and Andy Warhol.
Supported by Pro Helvetia, Arts Council of Switzerland. Organised by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Support for the exhibition in Chicago proivded in part by the Harris Family Foundation in honour of Bette and Neison Harris.
Installation shots: photos by Steve White.