Eric de Maré's RIBA show reveals raw substance of an industrial age
Friday 19 November 2010
They are stark and gaunt, often radiating an aura of carbonised dampness that suggests ruin and redemption. In our age of urban regeneration, the photographs of Eric de Maré, on show at the Royal Institute of British Architects, are ironic palimpsests of the government's grands projets on the Olympic site and Thames Gateway. But is Britain really on the march again, in the way that De Maré thought it was in the 50s and 60s? Half a century later, do we give a damn, as he did, about ordinary older buildings and settings?
De Mare's interest in industrial junkspace strongly influenced young postwar architects such as James Stirling and Michael Hopkins, who went on to produce breakthroughs in postmodern and high-tech architecture. De Mare's images are not beautiful, they are toughly tectonic and irresistably atmospheric; through his lens, the ugly and the forgotten become obdurately heroic. One wonders how many architects have been influenced by culturally polemical photographs taken in, say, the last decade? Very few, I'd guess.
There was no trademark De Mare shot. But, always, it's the ordinary details of place we notice – light and shadow and raw substance, so vividly at odds with the pixelated surfaces of our ephemeral, implicitly futurist age.
The Exploring Eye: The Photography of Eric de Maré, RIBA, London W1, to 24 November
Arts & Ents blogs
Dennis Hopper's lost sixties photo album found
Top Gear makes Saudis look liberal, Kirsty Wark tells Independent Bath Literature Festival
Jenny Collier row: Comedy promoter apologises after dropping female comic 'because venue did not want too many women on the bill'
Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because late wife Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
Jared Leto: Best Supporting Actor Oscar sparks backlash from transgender community
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Australian man Rod Sommerville reacts to bite from deadly snake by reaching for cold beer
- 3 Teacher shows sex tape featuring herself to pupils during class by mistake
- 4 Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
- 5 Swarm of killer bees sting woman 1,000 times