It was good to spend Monday afternoon at the V&A, where I concentrated at looking at work in a few areas, although I also enjoyed seeing the modern design section and the book illustration prize winners.

I was surprised to note that white cube space was not predominant – often the walls being blue or red – this was even the case for the Making It Up: Photographic Fictions where the walls were blue. In this show a few works particularly drew my attention:

Oliver Boberg Anliegerweg (Residents Path) 2000 [click here to go to image]

Xing Danwen Urban Fiction, No.23 2005 [click here to go to image]

Andy Wiener’s 6 C-type prints from the series A Rakes Progress 1986

I was also moved by the sacred silver and stained glass especially the stained glass and its ancient tradition and the relationship to iconography that resonates with my own practice. The highlight in the glass was Frank Salisbury’s The Ascension which had such strong echoes of much earlier works including the Murillo work that I viewed earlier in the year at Dulwich Picture Gallery. Under The Ascension was placed a sculptural object [Ichthys Font 2004-05 optical glass by Colin Reid; Plinth by Jim Partridge (on loan from Art and Christian Enquiry Trust)] that seemed to be enhanced by and enhance the stained glass; I hope to produce such a dialogue between my pieces so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

I enjoyed once again immersing myself in the heritage of photography as I perused the V&A photographs collection [click here to see a V&A’s selection of photographs from that collection]; I was particularly pleased to view these works:

John Reginald Homer Weaver, Avila Cathedral Interior, Spain, 1920-30 [for me, this evoked a similar emotional pathos to Josef Sudek’s studies of Prague, especially the rebuilding of the Cathedral in the 1920’s; both sharing the wonderful luminosity of light streaming into the space]

Francis Bruguière, Cut Paper Abstraction 1925-7

Man Ray, from the portfolio Electricit√®‘ 1931

Maurice Broomfield, Methylating Company, Hull, Distillery, 1935

Ilse Bing, Rockefeller Center and Chrysler Building Tops, 1936

Tibor Honty, The Summer Evening, 1952 [which to me resonates with the earlier work of Josef Sudek, as might be expected by Honty’s 1933 relocation to Praha]

Robert Brownjohn, Street Level, 1961

Robert Adams, Newly Occupied Tract Houses, Colorado and Outdoor Theatre and Cheyenne Mountain, 1968 [these so strongly resonate with the slightly later work of Lewis Baltz that it is clear that they were indeed both part of the ‘New Topographics’ movement.]

Bernd and Hilla Becher, 6 Gelatin Prints 1974: Silo for Coal, Big Pit Colliery, South Wales ; Lime kilns, Brielle, Holland ; Water Tower, Kirkham Gate, Near Leeds, England ; Pit Head, Fosse Noeux No. 13, North France ; Gas Holder, Power Station Essen-Karnap ; Cooling Tower, Zeche Waltrop, Ruhr, West Germany

I was also interested to look at the presentation of the tapestries as I thought that this could potentially inform how I hang my Assimilation [Games] piece – the subdued lighting did resonate with my current thinking but the actual method of hanging did not.

The final two items that captured my attention were:

1. Thomas Gainsborough’s showbox made to show his oil on glass landscapes; I enjoyed the whole aesthetic and the intimacy of the personal, individual viewing of the work.


2. John Constable’s Landscape Oil Sketches I was intrigued by his attention to detail, even in his sketches and yet they still posses the spontaneous emotion; I found this encouraging as I am often moved to make a photographic sketch, still or moving, while still maintaining the potential for a more significant work.