Exhibition Road to be pedestrianized for REVEAL festival opening

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The Victoria and Albert Museum have announced the full programme for the REVEAL festival – a free week-long public festival to celebrate the opening of the Exhibition Road Quarter.

Exhibition Road Quarter is the largest architectural project the museum has seen in over 100 years and will contain a number of new exhibition spaces:

The Sainsbury Gallery – a 1,100 sq m column-free space built for the V&A’s temporary exhibitions
The Sackler Courtyard – the world’s first all-porcelain public courtyard
The Blavatnik Hall – a new entrance to the V&A.

On Saturday 1 July Exhibition Road will be pedestrianized for an outdoor exhibition of floating Aerocene sculptures. These sculptures, combining art, architecture and science, are activated by heat from the sun and can reach up to 5 metres in size. The original idea for the sculptures was conceived by artist Tomás Saraceno. There will also be a sculpture created by local school children and members of the public can bring plastic bags to help create a new sculpture, which will be shown at a later date.

The evening events will revolve around light, as several artists will be commissioned to “draw with light” on the façade around the Sackler Courtyard. The Sainsbury Gallery will also host light and sound installations including Simon Heijden’s Shade, using the natural light from the Oculus skylight in the gallery.

Other events throughout the week include live music and dance performances from the National Youth Dance Company alumni, The New Young Voice Collective youth choir, and original music and choreographed dance performances, which will be livestreamed to Boiler Room.

Several of the V&A’s neighbours will also be collaborating with the museum for the festival with their own events including The Royal Albert Hall, the Royal College of Music, Imperial College, the Natural History Museum, and the Science Museum.

Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A, says: “The REVEAL festival looks set to be a high point of the London summer – a wonderful way to celebrate the biggest moment for the V&A in a century. From flying sculptures down Exhibition Road to light installations on the Victorian walls of our buildings, the festival will bring the architecture to life. This is an incredible moment for visitors new and old to enjoy London’s most elegant and exciting museum in a brand new space on Exhibition Road. We’re really pleased that so many diverse cultural activities will be available for free over the opening week, and that our South Kensington neighbours are joining us to revive the spirit of ‘Albertopolis’.”

The full programme of events including exhibitions, performances, artist commissions, and family activities is available on the V&A website.

The REVEAL festival runs from 30 June – 7 July and all events are free and open to the public.