Oh how I love Brutalist architecture and better yet, Brutalist architecture that is still very much in public use. I love the stillness of the buildings, those stark lines against the sky, the blockiness and the concrete curves all encasing a building which is teeming with life under that cold, grey exterior and the Southbank Centre has all of the above.
I popped along to the Southbank Centre to visit The Hayward Gallery to see the retrospective of acclaimed German photographer, Andreas Gursky and of course I took a few snaps of the iconic building. Some of my friends roll their eyes at my love for all things concrete, but when I look at a Brutalist building, as cheesy as it sounds, all I see is pure art which I attempt to capture in my instagrams and photos. Over the last few years the gallery has been under extensive refurbishment and it was great to be back in that familiar space. Most notably the 66 glass pyramid roof lights that have been restored, allow soft natural light into the upper galleries and really transform the space – it’s quite lovely.
This is the first exhibition I’ve been to this year and it didn’t disappoint. Gursky’s large-scale photographs are awe-inspiring, full of intriguing vantage points, abstraction and wonderful composite photos where each photo leaves you wanting to ask the photographer a million and one questions. It really made me think a lot more about photography and ways of seeing. Photography is such a powerful medium and Gursky reminds you that you can find beauty in the ordinary and how photos can tell some pretty amazing stories – no matter on a pro camera or a mobile phone.
There are a lot of great exhibitions happening in London at the moment, many of which are housed in spectacular 1960s concrete buildings (hello Tate Modern and The Barbican) but if you have a spare afternoon and appreciate thought-provoking photography housed in an awesome Brutalist building, then I’d certainly give Gursky’s exhibition a visit.