Clusters of concomitant stairs dissect the upper and lower planes, rising and falling in folds. Twists of browngrey concrete. Cleaving floors; holding them apart and bringing them together in a diremptive and connective orientation. Navigation between spheres made possible by these brutalist coils scarred by years of hurried heels. The exhibition continues upstairs, the unceasing tramp of increasing audience figures. Figures of ‘appreciation’. Expansive yet simple modernist forms that scythe through white walled space, reminders of the external architecture. Brutalism in abundance on the South Bank, walled out by the requirements of the aesthetic project. What would it mean to strip back these walls? No longer would we find old render. Concrete, cold and unforgiving lingers in beautiful exigency. Concrete nothing but pure building, no adornment. But mendacious concrete. From distance this stairwell is wooden planks. Slats, greyed with the years, here a grain, a knot, there the mark of a saw. What mendacity, what lies this material plays. Concrete formed as blocks in wooden trenches take on the appearance of the wood. The modernist project, the stripping back to pure forms, the continuation of a certain enlightenment. How these constellations of buildings bear their late-modernist credentials with ease, yet the conceit runs deep. Examine the stairwell. At one point, halfway to the upper floor on the north side, between two flights of stairs there lies a knot in the wood/concrete, yet it is not grey like the rest of the stairwell. It is a rich cherry-wood golden brown. No more than an inch diameter this strange abhorrence offers nothing more than itself and its difference. How to understand this anomaly? It neither feels soft like wood or hard like stone, it is smooth but rippled. As though a knick has been had out of the wall and under lies the thing we though it was all along. As though the appearance was a double lie. A further inspection confirms the fact that the whole of the Hayward is not wood that looks like concrete that looks like wood. It is obviously real concrete. But were we to believe that we were standing on wooden slats, held together by hidden nails, then, surely our history not just the building would collapse.