The Photographers’ Gallery presents a triple-bill of iconoclasts — artist Andy Warhol, writer William S Burroughs and filmmaker David Lynch, each feature in an exhibition, accompanied by talks, events and screenings.
The photographs on display in each exhibition feature similar content — mostly images of familiar urban landscapes and buildings — but each artist approaches these in their own way and with their own focus. This encourages the viewer to take another look at the quotidian in their surroundings.
Andy Warhol’s photographs, taken between 1976 and 1987 (the year of his death), are a small selection from his prolific portfolio. He always carried a camera and used it freely to document the everyday happenings around him — signs, cityscapes, people and buildings. Warhol was also interested in sequential and repeated images, and some of his ‘stitched’ photographs are presented, in which identical photographs are sewn together, creating a sequential montage. There is a general sense that these photographs could have been used for something else, a collage, perhaps, or maybe blown up and made into one of the repetitive images of mass-market consumables for which Warhol is well-known.
William S Burroughs was well-known for his ‘cut-up’ literature, and this approach is also seen in his photographs. We see miniature fragments of landscapes, buildings, people, friends and lovers, including Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Burroughs’ photographs were developed cheaply and often modified through cutting and collaging — not so much objects in themselves as a way of disrupting the space-time continuum, consistent with Burroughs’ writing style.
David Lynch’s ‘Factory’ photographs are a compelling look at industrial structures and landscapes. Taken in the US, Germany, Poland and England, they convey a sense of foreboding, with dark shadows, sinister stairwells, broken and decayed brickwork, and factory buildings looming out of the fog. The sense of apprehension is heightened by a ‘soundscape’ of recorded factory noises, such as the constant hum of a generator — also a well-known trope of his many films, including Eraserhead and The Rabbits.
The show explores the visual language of photography and its influence on the artistic approaches of each artist, and we highly recommend it.
Andy Warhol, David Lynch and William S Burroughs continue at The Photographers’ Gallery until 30 March. Tickets: £4 (£2.50 concessions). Free admission on Monday from 10am-6pm or Thursday from 6-8pm.