Ian Breakwell: Important Works from the 60s and 70s at Anthony Reynolds Gallery
Ian Breakwell was a unique, influential and diverse figure: “a painter, diarist, film maker, fiction writer, photographer, and broadcaster”, as the late commentator Tom Lubbock put it best. Now, ten years after Breakwell’s death, Anthony Reynolds Gallery presents a selection of his main work from the 60s and 70s.
For the people who have followed Breakwell, it comes as no surprise that Anthony Reynolds should be the gallery to showcase his work from these two decades. Not only is it the gallery representative of Breakwell himself, its very first exhibition 30 years ago was none other than New Work by Ian Breakwell. For the next month, art enthusiasts of London will have the opportunity to admire his work on the two floors of this Soho-based contemporary gallery.
Starting from the very entrance, you are immediately taken into a white, minimalistic room that only boasts a few, but quite impressive pieces. A symbiosis of pictures and text, Breakwell’s work combines ink on paper with oil on board, pencil, photographs and collages. The result is quite spectacular, fully representing his signature style of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. The explicit sexual images seen in most of his pieces, including Him Her and Love Story, can easily raise some eyebrows, while Description of a Picture will definitely get the attention those who like to observe descriptive “word pictures”.
The second floor is where you’ll find one of his most famous pieces, filling up the whole room with monotony and repetitiveness. 1974 Diary is made up of 285 pages in 14 frames. It has not been seen complete in London since his ICA exhibition in 1977, making this exhibition a must. Its images are quite surreal, reflecting on the repetitiveness of ordinary life, setting up quite a dark tone on the mundane reality. Just outside, in the small corridor, there is just one final piece that you might miss if you don’t know it’s there – the beautiful photoassemblage The Journey.
Ian Breakwell’s work might be seen as dominated by dark themes, but its surreal humour that can be found even in the darkest of places always triumphs. If you’re not familiar with the artist’s work, this is definitely a good place to start.
Photos: Zak Macro
Ian Breakwell: Important Works from the 60s and 70s is at Anthony Reynolds Gallery until 21st February 2015, for further information visit here.