Mathanki Kodavasal, the Mumbai-born artist behind Eye for London Prints, spends a lot of time cycling through the streets picking up on anything she finds quirky or curious. Her prints include colour-coded street scenes from Stoke Newington where she lives and a great depiction of the Truman Brewery, near where she used to work.
Her fascination with London’s architecture led her to create her recent Brutalist London series. 'You either love it or hate it. The bold and graphic nature of the structures makes them seem larger than life,' says Mathanki. 'On one hand, these modern "streets in the sky" have been criticised due to their cold appearance projecting an atmosphere of totalitarianism, while there is a large section of others who appreciate them for their raw and unpretentious honesty in contrast to highly ornate elite structures. I find this conflict interesting.'
She took us on a whistle-stop tour of Brutalist London through some of her art:
The National Theatre
'As part of a typography assignment, I was given a cut-out of an alphabet and asked to juxtapose it over a building that matched its character. My font brought me to the National Theatre, one of the most disruptive Brutalist buildings in London. It is quite hard to understand its shape and structure at first glance, but walking around and over the bridge, it sort of reveals itself – each angle giving you a unique perspective of the rich and complex layers.'
The Space House
'Almost hidden in plain sight due to its height, this concrete cylinder made me stop and applaud. And in spite of its harsh lines and intersections, I find it oddly pretty.'
The Balfron Tower
'The east London slab-monster looked strangely familiar, reminding me of home. Choc-a-block concrete high-rises are a common sight and so aspirational back in Mumbai, we used to live in a building quite similar to this!'
'I read somewhere that the Queen declared this "one of the modern wonders of the world". Complex, with its various levels and numerous entrances, the Barbican truly holds a labyrinth of surprises within. With its gallery, fountains, a pond and even a conservatory, flanked by massive towers of grey, this is indeed a Brutalist utopia.'Share the story