Curious about this lot, hanging around a telephone box in Grosvenor Square on a freezing January evening? Incredibly it’s not a scene from the next Dr Who series, but Lumiere London, a rather wonderful, four day but currently one-off treasure hunt around the capital.
From Westminster Abbey to Kings Cross, Piccadilly to St James, artists created extraordinary, light-filled installations. Roads closed, institutions opened and crowds came.
Then came – and came. At one point on Saturday it was so crowded they had to turn off the lights.
If I’m honest, it was a bit of a last minute decision to visit. It was freezing cold, the trains were (as usual) up the wazoo and I was by a nice warm fire. I’m so glad I made the effort to join the eerily quiet crowds roaming the streets with not-very-good maps trying to find the next wonder.
The telephone box was one of the first – and one of my favourite installations. Aquarium, by Benedetto Bufalino and Benoit Deseille had been filled with water and goldfish, then illuminated. Incongruous and mesmerising, it had just one problem – you couldn’t see it. A victim of its own success, it was impossible to get anywhere close – or far away – to see it in its entirety. I loved it so much though, I’d sign any petition to make this installation a permanent fixture on the ‘odd London’ landscape.
I was delighted to actually have a go at wielding the enormous inflated goldfish kites in Regent Street (they pack quite a punch in the wind-tunnel streets).
This extraordinary event has finished now. I wish I’d managed to see the sections at Kings Cross and Westminster; if it ever happens again, I’ll be devoting more than one evening to it.