Magic Eye Manual

Priya's intermittent blog

London Building Sites 1952-1962: Frank Auerbach

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London Building SItes

I saw an exhibition yesterday, called ‘London Building Sites’ – by Frank Auerbach, one of London’s most important post-war artists, who was fascinated by the reconstruction of London after World War II. Frank Auerbach was born in 1931 and has a studio in Camden where he works. The fourteen paintings in this this exhibition, were from 1952 – 1962. Also exhibited, were pages from his sketchbook, of the sketches he made of the sites that were being rebuilt. There were also smaller ‘studies’ – versions of the painting he would finally arrive at. His paintings were thick, layered, textured surfaces, where detail and the form of the built structures were almost obliterated. Sometimes they were an inch deep – reworked for months, and conveying the drama of the epic task of rebuilding London.

There were unexpected hints at forms in some – a rope, a worker, the scaffolding that melted into the canvas, a luminous excavation. The abstraction lay in the texture, the mapping and transcending at the same time, of space and architectural form. The thickness of the paintings, the layers into which detail disappeared, and the hues and tones that he used, gave a sense of unity  – of experiencing past, present and future cycles of devastation and renewal – in each work.


Written by Priya Sen

January 19, 2010 at 2:15 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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