17 May 2014

In ruins

The number 6 bus, which I use at weekends, goes past a demolition site which I've been photographing whenever possible  -
Last weekend we went past in the car and got some closeups round the other side -

Given this obsession, it seemed imperative to go to the Ruin Lust exhibition at Tate Britain. The final room, "Cities in Dust", contained my favourite works in the show -
"Heygate Estate" is one of a series of "estate paintings" that Keith Coventry began in 1991.
This estate is now being demolished, but at what cost?

"The concern for sociopolitical issues particularly situated
 in the context of south London can be found in
 two unique
 bronze casts of vandalised saplings also in Tate’s collection.
They were first shown in 1997.
Rachel Whiteread's "Demolished" portfolio documented the
demolition of blocks of flats in the East End in 1995
Another image that intrigued me is by Edward Allington -
"Seated in Darkness" (1987) measures 6 feet x 8 feet
It's drawn and painted onto sheets of ledgers from a car-hire firm in Greece - which is amusing because the "antique fragments" rather resemble some sort of vehicle. (The relation of the ledger to the subject matter of the painting is coincidental.) The work was inspired by a print of an antique throne by Piranesi in which the throne, with its dark shadow, crisply drawn in parallel shading lines, appears to float above the ground, divorced from its setting.

Which is a long way from the demolition of "sub-standard" buildings, no matter how much profit is in it and for whom. To end, a nice quote from Rebecca Solnit (The Ruins of Memory, 2007) -

"A city - any city, every city - is the eradication, even the ruin of the landscape from which it rose. In its fall, that original landscape sometimes triumphs."

No comments: