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Ruin Lust

'Azeville', 2006
© Jane and Louise Wilson, courtesy Tate
'The Destruction of Pompei and Herculaneum', 1822 (restored 2011)

Courtesy Tate

'Five Sisters Bing', 1976

© The Estate of John Latham, Courtesy Tate

'Tintern Abbey: The Crossing and Chancel, Looking towards the East Window', 1794

Courtesy Tate

'The Oath', 1978

© John Stezaker, courtesy Tate

'Devastation, 1940: A House on the Welsh Border', 1940

Courtesy Tate

'St Mary le Port, Bristol', 1940

Courtesy Tate

'Equivalents for the Megaliths', 1935

Courtesy Tate

'The Fall of London: London Bridge', 1933

Courtesy Tate

'Coggeshall Church, Essex', 1940

Courtesy Tate

'The Fall of London: Museum', 1933

Courtesy Tate

This show looks at the depiction of ruins in art from the seventeenth century onwards, featuring work by Constable and Turner alongside contemporary artists like Rachel Whiteread and Tacita Dean. John Martin's incredible apocalyptic masterpiece 'The Destruction of Pompeii and Herculeanum' (1822) will also be making a very welcome appearance.

Event phone: 020 7887 8008
Event website: http://www.tate.org.uk
4 people listening
Curated London

First Iconoclasm, now ruins - Tate really knows how to pick a gloomy topic for artistic survey. Ruin lust is based on a German word -Ruinelust - so you know it’s a proper thing. Apparently everyone’s at it - and they have been for ages! The exhibition spans the 17th Century through to the present day, and includes a roll-call of artists - all of whom enjoy depicting buildings in varying states of decay.

Highlights include John Martin’s The Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum, a beautifully-restored panorama that opens the show. Fans of the classics won’t be disappointed, with greats like Turner and Constable featured. More modern inclusions are less successful; Tacita Dean’s deathly-dull Kodak features a 44 minute video of nothing in particular. Rachel Whiteread’s photographs of tower block demolition, on the other hand, are excellent. Over all, there are some great pieces on display, but the subject choice makes it all feel a bit incoherent.  

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