The Gagosian Gallery London is currently hosting “Crash” a major group show exploring and celebrating the works of one of the UK’s most celebrated modern novelists, the great JG Ballard.
Ballard is perhaps best know for his infamous 1973 novel “Crash” which used the sexual fetishism of automobile accidents as an allegory for modern society. However his visionary prose, insights into the darker side of modern culture and prophetic visions of the future of western society ran strong throughout his 40 year career and saw became one of the few science fiction writers to be taken seriously by the literary establishment. His regular motif of sinister organisations in a dark, dystopian and technologically obsessed future have become such a recognisable feature of books and movies that the Oxford English Dictionary coined the word “ballardian” to describe them.
This exhibition is a response to this enormous impact and enduring cultural significance of the wrier and his work, following his death in spring 2009. Highlighting Ballard’s great passion for the surreal and his engagement with the artists of his own generation, “Crash” includes examples of his specific inspirations as well as works by contemporary artists who have, in turn, been inspired by his vision.
Ballard’s first published short story “Prima Belladonna” appeared in 1956, the same year as the celebrated Independent Group’s exhibition “This is Tomorrow” at the Whitechapel Gallery, which marked the birth of Pop Art in Britain. It was here, and in the work of Surrealists such as Salvador Dali and Paul Delvaux, that Ballard found the seeds of what he called a “fiction for the present day”. With its dystopian depictions of the present and future, its bleak, man-made landscapes and the recounting of the psychological effects of technological, social and environmental developments on humans, his work has resonated strongly among other writers, filmmakers and visual artists. The exhibition “Crash” brings together works by artists tuned to the Ballardian universe, from his contemporaries such as Ed Ruscha, Richard Hamilton, Andy Warhol and Helmut Newton, to younger artists such as Tacita Dean, Jenny Saville, Glenn Brown and Mike Nelson.
Artists featured in the exhibition, which has been organised by the author’s estate, include: Richard Artschwager, Francis Bacon, JG Ballard, Hans Bellmer, Glenn Brown, Chris Burden, Jake & Dinos Chapman, John Currin, Salvador Dalí, Giorgio de Chirico, Tacita Dean, Jeremy Deller, Paul Delvaux, Cyprien Gaillard, Douglas Gordon, Loris Gréaud, Richard Hamilton, John Hilliard and Jemima Stehli, Roger Hiorns, Damien Hirst, Dan Holdsworth, Carsten Höller, Edward Hopper, Allen Jones, Mike Kelley, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Vera Lutter, Florian Maier-Aichen, Paul McCarthy, Adam McEwen, Dan Mitchell, Malcolm Morley, Mike Nelson, Helmut Newton, Cady Noland, Claes Oldenburg, Eduardo Paolozzi, Steven Parrino, Richard Prince, Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, Ed Ruscha, Jenny Saville, George Shaw, Cindy Sherman, Piotr Uklański, Andy Warhol, Rachel Whiteread, Christopher Williams, Jane and Louise Wilson, Christopher Wool and Cerith Wyn Evans.
A innovative and insightful look into the inspiration of one of our favourite authors. If you aren’t familiar with JG Ballard, most of his novels are still widely available, but both “Crash” and “Super Cannes” are slamxhype favourites. It’s also worth checking out David Cronenberg’s 1997 movie of “Crash”, as the director’s equally surreal and dystopian take on modern life makes for a fitting adaptation of the book.
The exhibition runs until 1st April 2010 at the Gagosian Gallery London.