Constructing Worlds: Architectural Photography

Should architecture photography look beyond documenting the built environment? This is the question raised by Constructing Worlds: Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age, the latest exhibition at London’s Barbican Art Gallery. Here the curators have set out to explore the power of photography to reveal wider truths about our society. And it is an interesting glimpse into our world. The Barbican Centre, itself a utopian statement and so much more than just a set of... Read More

Barber & Osgerby interpret BMW design

‘Cars today are almost the exact equivalent of the great Gothic cathedrals; I mean the supreme creation of an era, conceived with passion by unknown artists, and consumed in image if not in usage by a whole population which appropriates them as a purely magical object,’ the philosopher Roland Barthes wrote in 1957. Earlier this week the contemporary motor car met with great religious art, with a provocative dialogue emerging between the past and the present. Edward Barber... Read More

Exhibition review: Jim Dine

What would you think of a show where every print was covered with hammers and saws and an almost endless variety of spanners, scissors, tongs, pliers, and pincers? Jim Dine’s A History of Communism at London’s Alan Cristea Gallery offers a complex array of impressions. I came away impressed with the ingenuity, intrigued and a little moved too, but also somewhat uneasy. Let me explain. Dine has used a series of lithographic stones left over from an art academy in the German... Read More

Horst: a magician with light

‘Electric Beauty’ are four black and white photographs taken by Horst P Horst in 1939. They are a satirical comment on the futility of extreme modern beauty treatment, fashionable in the 1930s, at a time when the world was on the brink of war. We see the model undergo various bizarre procedures, yet she seems blissfully unaware – in one she is even wearing a creepy mask – of the danger of electrocution. The sinister atmosphere is further enhanced by... Read More