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1 May 2015
Today, the Museum of London strengthens its visual art collections, announcing the acquisition of three major new works by leading London-based photographer, Rut Blees Luxemburg. The acquisition was made possible with the assistance of the Art Fund and the Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund.The newly acquired photographs, ‘Aplomb – St Paul’s’, 2013, and ‘Walkie-Talkie Melted My Golden Calf’, 2013, hail from Blees Luxemburg’s series, London Dust. The photographs, along with the film, ‘London / Winterreise’, 2013, and other works from Blees Luxemburg’s series, will feature in the new exhibition, London Dust, opening at the Museum of London on 1 May 2015.London Dust responds to the redevelopment of the City of London and the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis. As property prices rise, and the pressure to maximise space increases, London’s financial district has seen ever more fanciful towers appear in the skyline.
Blees Luxemburg’s images contrast the idealised, architectural computer-generated visions of London that clad City building sites, with the gritty, unpolished reality surrounding these. In particular, they focus on the hoardings surrounding The Pinnacle – a proposed 64-floor skyscraper that rose no higher than seven-storeys before lack of funding brought the work to an unexpected halt. Blees Luxemburg’s photographs encourage viewers to consider differing perceptions of London through nuanced details, light and innovative compositions.
The six minute film ‘London / Winterreise’, 2013, set to a soundtrack that re-interpretes Schubert’s song cycle, Die Winterreise, journeys from Shoreditch, to the City; passes the Occupy camp in Finsbury Square and the Bank of England and captures mid-construction building sites and finally London Wall – current home of the Museum of London. As with the photographs, the film offers a commentary on historical London, the climate surrounding the financial crisis and the city’s architectural transformation.
Rut Blees Luxemburg, said:
“The position of the Museum of London, at the centre of the City, its vicinity to the ancient remnants of London Wall and its proximity to the burgeoning new London, is compelling. I am thrilled that my work on contemporary London is part of the museum’s collection and will be given a platform so close to the locations that have such a hold on me.”
Francis Marshall, Senior Curator of Paintings, Pictures and Drawings at Museum of London, said:
“Rut Blees Luxemburg is one of the most fascinating photographers working in London today. Her images question the city and the urban environment in ways which prompt fresh thinking about London. We have long wanted to add Rut’s work to the collection. Her philosophical and conceptual approach to photography is indicative of our ambitious plans to expand our art collections.”
Blees Luxemburg’s work joins a collection of over 150,000 photographs comprising a visual history of London from the birth of the medium in the mid-19th century, right up to today.
The acquisition of these three works fulfils two of the museum’s priorities for art collecting: collecting contemporary work using lens-based media, and showcasing work made by critically acclaimed female artists.
The announcement follows the 2014 acquisition of the remaining archive of Christina Broom – the UK’s first female press photographer. Opening on 19 June 2015, the Museum of London Docklands will stage the first ever retrospective of this significant photographer, entitled Soldiers and Suffragettes: The Photography of Christina Broom.
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The Museum of London tells the ever-changing story of this great world city and its people, from 450,000 BC to the present day. Our galleries, exhibitions, displays and activities seek to inspire a passion for London and provide a sense of the vibrancy that makes the city such a unique place.
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Rut Blees Luxemburg is a London based artist whose large-scale photographic works explore the public spaces of the city. She creates immersive and vertiginous compositions that challenge established urban perceptions and bring to light the overlooked, the dismissed and the unforeseen.
Her work has been published in the monograph Commonsensual, which presents her collaborative forays into opera, Liebeslied/My Suicides, documents her public art installations Caliban Towers with muf architects and shows Piccadilly’s Peccadilloes a large-scale installation commissioned by Art on the Underground for Heathrow Airport. Rut Blees Luxemburg created the iconic cover of The Streets debut album Original Pirate Material.
Rut Blees Luxemburg’s photographs are exhibited internationally and are in public collections including the Tate Modern, Victoria & Albert Museum and the Centre Pompidou.
Rut Blees Luxemburg is a Reader in Urban Aesthetics in the Photography Programme at the Royal College of Art, London.
Rut Blees Luxemburg has been commissioned to make an installation for the courtyard of Somerset House for Photo London. She will present The Teaser, an outdoor mise-en-scene that translates her recent book The Academic Year with the philosopher Alexander Garcia Düttmann into an illuminated 3-dimensional set. http://www.rutbleesluxemburg.com/
The Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art, driven by the belief that everyone should have access to great art. In the past 5 years the Art Fund has given £34m to help museums and galleries acquire works of art for their collections. The Art Fund also helps museums share their collections with wider audiences by supporting a range of tours and exhibitions, including ARTIST ROOMS and the 2013–18 Aspire tour of Tate’s Constable’s Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, and makes additional grants to support the training and professional development of curators.
The Art Fund is independently funded, with the core of its income provided by 117,000 members who receive the National Art Pass and enjoy free entry to over 230 museums, galleries and historic places across the UK, as well as 50% off entry to major exhibitions. In addition to grant-giving, the Art Fund’s support for museums includes the annual Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year (won by the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2014), a publications programme and a range of digital platforms including a website and the Art Guide app, promoting a network of over 650 museums and galleries across the country. Find out more about the Art Fund and the National Art Pass at www.artfund.org