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CRITIC'S CHOICE

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REVIEW

With a graceful profile that makes it look more benign than it is (after all, it is a volcano), Mount Fuji is both a sacred mountain and a national symbol. It entered Western consciousness primarily through Hokusai's colour woodcuts - the famous Thirty-Six Views which Van Gogh and the Impressionists admired. So we know it well enough (even if its cultural import eludes us), but we probably picture it free of context, alone against a backdrop of sky.

It's just this present-day context that John Riddy supplies in his Views from Shin-Fuji at London's V&A Museum until 7 May. The mountain is always visible in the distance - distinct or sometimes wraith-like - but it's the town of ShinFuji that's prominent: its unspectacular houses and apartments, its clutter of wires and cables, its patches of cultivation.

The show itself is small, and Riddy's photographs aren't large, but they're so full of detail and information, along with little harmonies of colour or geometry that Riddy has noticed, that they invite a long look ( www. vam. ac. uk/ collections/photography/).

Also at the V&A, until 4 June, is the latest of the temporary exhibitions staged with RIBA - The Modern Shop:

Architecture and Shopping between the Wars. One item is a 1935 book, Aluminium in Shopfitting and Display, for modernity in this field was signalled by new materials more than anything else. But alongside such progressive designs as Simpson's, Peter Jones and Wells Coates' Cresta Silks, some architects still looked backwards - there's a 1930 perspective by E Berry Webber that has Venetian motifs. The show mixes drawings and photographs effectively - a shame it has to be shoehorned into this unsatisfactory space ( www. architecture. com).

Another RIBA event is a film screening on 29 March which neatly ties in with the AJ's recent Thames Gateway issue (02.03.06). Saint Etienne's What Have You Done Today, Mervyn Day? looks at east London's Lower Lea Valley on the eve of Olympic redevelopment, with much the same eye for unlikely beauty that photographer Jason Orton showed in the AJ feature. Three other short urban films will complete the bill ( www. architecture. com).

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