Constructing Worlds

I have just got back from the Barbican to see Constructing Worlds. I'd been meaning to go since the Autumn but instead joined a long queue in the final two hours of it's run. The crowds and the clock ticking wasn't the ideal way to view everything so I wish I had gone a few weeks earlier - I would have definitely visited again.

"Constructing Worlds brings together eighteen exceptional photographers from the 1930s to the present day who have changed the way we view architecture and perceive the world around us".

Guy Tillim, Apartment Building , Loanda, Angola, 2007, pigment ink on cotton rag.

Guy Tillim, Apartment Building , Loanda, Angola, 2007, pigment ink on cotton rag.

Of the many favourites in this exhibition my standout is Guy Tillim. Tillim is a South-African photographer known for his work focusing in on the troubled regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. His work is an exceptional cross between photo journalism and art. Printed on matt, cotton paper and framed without glass, on close inspection the edges seemed slightly soft and solorised giving it a painterly quality, and the colours and tones were exquisite.

Guy Tillim, Library, Sports Club, Kolwelzi, DR Congo, 2007,  pigment ink on cotton rag.

Guy Tillim, Library, Sports Club, Kolwelzi, DR Congo, 2007, pigment ink on cotton rag.

Guy Tillim

Guy Tillim

I loved the contrast between the dark building and the blue boiler suits below, in Bas Pricen's Cooling Plant in Dubai.

Bas Princen, Cooling plant, Dubai, 2009. 

Bas Princen, Cooling plant, Dubai, 2009. 

Hiroshi Sugimoto has made a series of images of iconic buildings including the Gugenheim and World Trade Centre. The soft focus and contrast removes all the finer detail, leaving an almost abstract structure. They were beautiful.

"Pushing my old large-format camera’s focal length out to twice-infinity―with no stops on the bellows rail, the view through the lens was an utter blur―I discovered that superlative architecture survives, however dissolved, the onslaught of blurred photography. Thus I began erosion-testing architecture for durability, completely melting away many of the buildings in the process".
Hiroshi Sugimoto, Marina City, 2000-2001.

Hiroshi Sugimoto, Marina City, 2000-2001.

Looking at Thomas Struth's  Bukseo Dong, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2007

Looking at Thomas Struth's Bukseo Dong, Pyongyang, North Korea, 2007

And finally, we all loved this series of water towers by Bernd and Hilla Becher. The married couple who worked together for five decades, organised their clear black and white work in groups. Singularly they would have been a little bland, but as a group they highlight both the difference and similarity between structures (kind of like human beings really).

Bernd and Hilla Becher. Water Towers, 1980-89.

Bernd and Hilla Becher. Water Towers, 1980-89.