By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

Your browser seems to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser.

Close

Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Close

CRITIC'S CHOICE

REVIEW

For photographers, the city has long been a source of details that register as semi-abstractions - studies in colour, geometry and texture. Peeling plaster that reveals the letters of an old advert; patches of new paint on an otherwise worn wall; a taut array of pipes and cables like the armature of a Mondrian. Such images are almost a cliché but, with the right eye and technique, they can be arresting - as veteran Danish photographer Keld Helmer-Petersen proves in his exhibition at Rocket, Tea Building, London E1, until 5 February.

Helmer-Petersen made his name with a remarkable book, 122 Colour Photographs, published in 1948. It's almost impossible to find now, but there's a copy on show at the gallery. Recognisably a product of the same sensibility, his new photos - mounted on aluminium proud of the wall - have quite an impact (see picture). They're well reproduced in a tiny book, Danish Beauty (£6), from Edition Bløndal, whose other publications include Richard Weston's fine monograph on Jørn Utzon and the continuing series of Utzon Logbooks.

And it's Utzon who provides the introduction to Frameworks: Photographs 1950-1990 (£35) - an impressive survey of Helmer-Petersen's work, featuring Utzon's Fredensborg housing. 'His pictures taught me a great deal about light', says Utzon, who also praises Helmer-Petersen's 'splendid spatial imagination' and ability to present a building 'without cosmetics'. The book includes images of both the natural and the man-made world, mostly in black-and-white, and often they take on a graphic quality, as Helmer-Petersen turns the underside of a crane into a stark silhouette and a strand of seaweed into a character from an unknown alphabet. Frameworks is almost out of print, but copies are available from the gallery (www. rocketgallery. com).

Both book and exhibition mark a long career. By contrast, the Architecture Foundation's 'Winter Nights' lecture series at BDP, London EC1, features practices just making a name for themselves - DRDH Architects on 18 January, Amin Taha Architects on 25 January and Block Architecture on 1 February (www. architecturefoundation. org. uk).

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

The searchable digital buildings archive with drawings from more than 1,500 projects

AJ newsletters