Home and away: Four new art books explore the meaning of home

Kitchen sink drama
Part of a new history in British photography, Andy Sewell’s photographs offer an alternative view of country life

Untitled, from Something Like a Nest, 2012, by Andy Sewell, at James Hyman Gallery, London and Robert Morat Gallery, Berlin © Andy Sewell

Andy Sewell’s photographs of British country life depict a more modern and vibrant world than the “muted colors and organic, worn materials” that make up our idyllic fantasies of country life, says the British artist, who was born in east London and grew up in up Hertfordshire. What drew him to this kitchen sink still life was “the space between the landscape as an idea and the messier, more complex experience we find there”.

Untitled, from Something Like a Nest, 2012, by Andy Sewell

Untitled, from Something Like a Nest, 2012, by Andy Sewell © Andy Sewell

The cover of Another Country: British Documentary Photography since 1945

Sewell’s photographs appear alongside those of Don McCullin, Chloe Dewe Matthews, Martin Parr and others in A New Social and Cultural History of British Documentary Photography from 1945 and also includes essays by Ekow Eshun and Lou Stoppard. Arranged chronologically, it provides an impressive overview of how British society has been represented over the past seven decades. “It’s a place that’s often portrayed as a self-contained world, an escape from modernity,” says Sewell of Britain’s great outdoors. “What’s there just keeps getting more fluid, mysterious and entangled.” Bay Simons
Another Country: British Documentary Photography Since 1945 by Gerry Badger is published by Thames & Hudson in association with the Martin Parr Foundation for £50

domestic disturbances
Ian Strange’s architectural interventions explore the dark history of abandoned houses

Corrinne Terrace, 2011

Corrinne Terrace, 2011 © Ian Strange

For centuries, crosses and circles have been used to mark homes that have either been ravaged by disease or have been the target of burglaries. This act of externalizing the inner workings of a home is something artist Ian Strange explores in his Disturbed Home Monograph containing works created in his native Australia, New Zealand, USA, Norway, Japan and Poland over the past 12 years. The sequence, which includes photography, sculpture and film, has been compiled into a new book ahead of an exhibition at the Cincinnati Photography Biennale in September. She documents Strange’s eerie “architectural interventions” in abandoned or damaged homes: others show lots marked with huge circles of black paint, SOS signals, or no exterior walls and roofs. These blemishes always speak to the ecological or economic struggles of the region.

Number 12, 2013

Number 12, 2013 © Ian Strange

The cover of Disturbed Home by Ian Strange

After the 2011 Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake, Strange removed the walls and ceilings of some of the city’s 16,000 destroyed homes and shone light from the gaping spaces left behind to mimic the damage done by the event. This robbed the home of “any sense of security and stability,” says the artist, but “I wanted to fill those marks with light, maybe with a sense of liberation.” B.S
Disturbed Home by Ian Strange is published by Damiani at 55 €

German pastoral
In August, fashion photographer Collier Schorr explores life in a small German town in the 1990s

Joachim.  Study for a Soldier at Rest

Joachim. Study for a Soldier at Rest © Courtesy of Collier Schorr and Mack

Before Collier Schorr photographed fashion campaigns for Dior and Saint Laurent and cover stories for Vogue or Dazed, she focused her photographic gaze on the rural communities of southern Germany. The Queens-born artist spent her summers in the small town of Schwäbisch Gmünd in the early 1990s, photographing the semi-industrial landscape and its residents. It was here that her enduring fascination with youth began, as she captured the city’s youth at work or at play in the fields.

Water-lily Leaf No. 1. Study for Water-lily Leaf Triptych in the House of Cornelius

Lily Pad No. 1. Study for the Lily Pad Triptych in the House of Cornelius © Courtesy of Collier Schorr and Mack

Matthew.  Study for the Night Porter

Matthew. Study for The Night Porter © Courtesy of Collier Schorr and Mack

August by Collier Schorr, published by Mack for £40

August collects the Polaroid photographs Schorr took during this period, mostly as staged studies for more formal portraits. In one snapshot we see a teenager pausing in the sun for a moment; in another, a topless teenager poses in a feather boa and military cap; another shows a child making snow angels in full cadet uniform. While her subjects play with the trappings of her national history, Collier explores what it means to inherit such a past and the sense of accomplishment inherent in wearing a uniform. B.S
August by Collier Schorr is published by Quirk at £40

Slang of Dungeness
Dominic Bradbury traces the architectural history of the city of Kent

Radar at Dungeness, with Dungeness Lighthouse behind

Radar at Dungeness with Dungeness Lighthouse behind © Rachael Smith

North VAT

North Vat © Rachael Smith

Black Rubber House by Simon Conder

Simon Conder’s Black Rubber House © Rachael Smith

Gallery with sea view

Sea View Gallery © Rachael Smith

The windswept fishing village of Dungeness in Kent, with its rows of pitch-covered cottages, worn coils of discarded metal and salty fronds of sea kale, has developed its elemental aesthetic out of necessity. The pagan beauty of this coast has inspired artists and designers around the world, most notably filmmaker and activist Derek Jarman, who cultivated his heavenly garden here in the 1980s. It has also become a canvas for those architects lucky enough to get planning permission from the private estate.

Dungeness Coastal Architecture published by Pavilion for £25

Architectural journalist and lecturer Dominic Bradbury’s Dungeness coastal architecture, beautifully illustrated with photographs by Rachael Smith, traces the evolution of the Dungeness language and takes into account the bold interventions of Simon Conder, Rodić Davidson and NORD Architecture. The book tells the story of this unique section of Kent through profiles of 16 old and new houses and the countryside they are allowed to inhabit. MARK C O’FLAHERTY
Dungeness Coastal Architecture is published by pavilion at £25

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.