Ruin Lust

4 March – 18 May 2014, Tate Britain, London

By Sean Ashton

Jane and Louise Wilson, Azeville, 2006. © and courtesy the artists JMW Turner, Tintern Abbey: The Crossing and Chancel, Looking towards the East Window, 1794. Courtesy Tate

Ruins are created suddenly or gradually – an eruption of magma or a growth of lichen. This is demonstrated in the first room of Ruin Lust, where John Martin’s The Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum (1822) meets Jane and Louise Wilson’s Azeville (2006), a huge monochrome photograph of a military bunker in Normandy. These kind of structures influenced modernist architecture, whose style struck J.G. Ballard as anticipating its own demise, perhaps because of the resemblance of the shuttered concrete to…

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