London’s Westway – the elevated section of the A40 – has a certain urban grit, and has been honoured by a line in the Clash’s White Riot. But it has never been shown alongside the work of Neo-Classical architect Sir John Soane – until now. For in Pitzhanger Manor’s PM Gallery, the house designed by Soane where he entertained friends and displayed his collection of art and antiquities, an exhibition is about to open called Set in Stone, where five artists interpret architecture ranging from the Westway to Scottish monuments and imaginary Roman prisons. Artist Stephen Carter has endowed the Westway with a certain poetry, and presents detailed photographs taken from below. Alongside them are lightboxes, drawings and paintings by Emily Allchurch, Michael Durning, Stefan Hoenerloh and Ben Johnson, who offer a mixture of interpretations: some pictures of real buildings, others of fantasy architecture. Running through the works is a sense of psychological disquiet. Allchurch’s work falls into the fantastical category, as she splices together photographs of real prisons across Europe – recalling Piranesi’s creepy prison drawings from the 18th century with added CCTV cameras and razor wire. Hoenerloh also dabbles in the unreal, painting imaginary buildings, although his oil and acrylic pictures have the accuracy of photographs. And Johnson’s interiors image, Below The Surface, plays tricks on the viewer with its play of light and reflection – he is the first artist to become an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects for his work about contemporary architecture. Soane, a great collector of artifacts and images, would surely have approved.
Set in Stone runs from 28 March to 26 April at PM Gallery, Pitzhanger Manor, Mattock Lane, Ealing, London W5