Friday, January 22, 2010
David Hepher's beautiful tower blocks
Currently on display at Tate Britain gallery is this painting by David Hepher (born 1935). 'Albany Flats' (1977-79) depicts the Bradenham block on the Aylesbury Estate (not the Albany Estate as is erroneously stated in this otherwise informative description at the Tate Website, though they are off Albany Road).
The painting is one of a series depicting tower blocks in South London, with others including ‘Peckham Flats’ (1975–6), ‘Walworth Flats’ (1976–9), ‘Stockwell Flats I’ (1974–5) and 'Camberwell Nocturne' (1984)- below - featuring Habington House, a block on Camberwell's Elmington Estate.
He has said: ‘ I like best to work from council blocks, preferably stained and eroded by the dirt and the weather, where the facial appearance is continually changed by the people who live there, their comings and goings, and the changing decor. I would like to think that the pictures could make people look differently at the flats around them, to see beauty in objects that they normally dismiss as ugly.’
Naturally this put me in mind of South London militant modernist Owen Hatherley, generally appreciative of high rise beauty - though I notice that even he draws the line at admiring the tower blocks on the Aylesbury.
Hepher studied and taught at Camberwell College of Art. There's some pictures of his studio in Camberwell by Pete Marshall here.