The Museum of London – London Dust

Responding to the financial crash in 2008, Blee Luxemburg documented architecture at this time through a photographic collection – London Dust, currently on display at the Museum of London. 

The exhibition London Dust felt out of place, situated openly next to a busy cafe on the lower floor. The content itself was modern – yet poorly placed, which in turn did none of the work justice. Different sized photographs hung on the wall with too much space left between. Now, if the work was placed like this in its own room then maybe I could find a reasoning and it would of had more of an effect, but it wasn’t – it was merely a corridor of work that leads you to the rest of the museum.

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So the question I want to put forward is this – was it really an exhibition? Or at least, an exhibition that the museum cared for? As I have previously mentioned, the work was almost abstract in comparison to the rest of the museum so I could see how the museum couldn’t work with the pieces well enough to make them fit in. Looking at their website, the museum seems less than enthusiastic about the work, calling it ‘gritty’, a ‘small photography and film exhibition’ and a depiction of an ‘unpolished reality’ – failing to mention key points, like the work is centred around one building in particular – The Pinnacle.

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Looking deeper into the exhibition, I wanted to know the artists, Blees Luxemburg’s, view. Having looked at an interview, suddenly her work makes sense. She explained she was ‘trying to show how photography permeates the public territories and infiltrates our lives with questionable representations’ and I believe she succeeded. The photographs themselves are so powerful – just poorly presented.

However, I do feel it was right for the work to be shown in a museum that fames itself on being everything historically London. The photographs had a beautiful way of contrasting the expensive architecture with the gritty, brutalist flats below – and with that, they became a portrayal of history. The photographs express the nature of a city like London and the contrast in social classes.

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Overall, the collection was a good collection, but there was something missing in the way it was conveyed. The Pinnacle was a building thats construction was halted at seven stories due to the financial crash, and this year it has been proposed that the plans are re-started for completion in 2019. So surely, being so relevant, the photographs should of had a more prominent place in the museum?

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