The art of danger and suspense

Ben Woodeson’s art makes people uneasy, anxious even. But as his precariously balanced glass pieces demonstrate, the fear of what might happen next is at the very centre of his work

Slice and Dice, glass and bungee cord, Elevator Gallery, London, 2011

Ben Woodeson’s art makes people uneasy, anxious even. But as his precariously balanced glass pieces demonstrate, the fear of what might happen next is at the very centre of his work…

Woodeson is part of a new group exhibition curated by Crystal Bennes called Pink Does Not Exist. It opens at the Flat C gallery in north London later this month and Woodeson will be showing two pieces which look at how we invest certain objects and situations with our own fears of what they might do, or do to us.

Kick Ass Nail Your Butt to the Wall Glass Sculpture, sheet glass and bungee cord, 2012

Woodeson uses basic materials (glass, bungee cords, the gallery walls or floor), basic scientific principles (gravity, states of equilibrium) and manipulates the tension generated by arranging them in certain ways. His artworks “deliberately straddle a line between stability and instability, action and inaction,” he says.

Screaming ankle slashing tension glass piece (60 second self-destructive sculpture), sheet glass, 2012

His numbered series of Health and Safety Violations, for example, examines an endless list of potential public infringements: swinging a cobblestone or a can of motor oil around in a confined space; playing with electric sockets; leaving massive bits of glass on the floor. (The cobblestone piece is unsurprisingly really dangerous).

One of the pieces he’ll be showing at the Pink Does Not Exist show is Health & Safety Violation #2 – Shocking, a live electric fence, which visitors will have to negotiate in order to see the rest of the show. Unnerving, potentially very annoying, but who knows if it’s really on or off?

Other projects rely on random timers to set them going but these also come full of suspense: will you be present in the gallery when the plastic bag splits, pouring steel ball bearings over the floor? Or when the ball bearing drops from a great height and smashes the sheet of glass?

Even when nothing is going on, there’s the ever-present itch that something is about to happen.

For details of the location of the Flat C Project Space in Stoke Newington, north London email (the gallery is a private residence). Pink Does Not Exist runs from May 19 until June 2 and features work by Woodeson, Ross Sutherland, Freddy Tuppen, Trevor Kiernander, Catherine Hyland, Henrietta Williams, Nick Love, and Gregory Sale. More of Woodeson’s work is at

Semi-visible corner piece (head banger), 2mm glass and paper, 2012

CR for the iPad
Read in-depth features and analysis plus exclusive iPad-only content in the Creative Review iPad App. Longer, more in-depth features than we run on the blog, portfolios of great, full-screen images and hi-res video. If the blog is about news, comment and debate, the iPad is about inspiration, viewing and reading. As well as providing exclusive, iPad-only content, the app will also update with new content throughout each month. Try a free sample issue here

CR in Print
The May issue of Creative Review is the biggest in our 32-year history, with over 200 pages of great content. This speial double issue contains all the selected work for this year’s Annual, our juried showcase of the finest work of the past 12 months. In addition, the May issue contains features on the enduring appeal of John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, a fantastic interview with the irrepressible George Lois, Rick Poynor on the V&A’s British Design show, a preview of the controversial new Stedelijk Museum identity and a report from Flatstock, the US gig poster festival. Plus, in Monograph this month, show our subcribers around the pick of Barcelona’s creative scene.

If you would like to buy this issue and are based in the UK, you can search for your nearest stockist here. Based outside the UK? Simply call +44(0)207 292 3703 to find your nearest stockist. Better yet, subscribe to CR for a year here and save yourself almost 30% on the printed magazine.

What's the story?

The Storytelling issue, Oct/Nov 2017, is out now.
We invited writers to respond to our cover image
this month: read their stories inside.
PLUS: Tom Gauld, Oliver Jeffers, Giphy & S-Town

Buy the issue

The Annual 2018

The Creative Review Annual is one of the most
respected and trusted awards for the creative
industry. We celebrate the best creative work from
the past year, those who create it and commission it.

Enter now


South East London - Competitive


London - £35,000 - £40,000


Birmingham - Salary £30-£35k


Leeds, West Yorkshire - £20,000 - 30,000