Building Blocks: London - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Building Blocks: London

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Schools Projects and Outreach: Past Projects

Building Blocks: London


galleryvisitresearchtripFor this project we worked with National Diploma art and design students from BSIX Sixth Form College in Hackney. The project was produced in response to the The Courtauld Gallery’s exhibition, FRANK AUERBACH: LONDON BUILDING SITES 1952-62.

Led by The Courtauld Gallery Public Programmes team, the students made several visits to the Courtauld exhibition to explore Frank Auerbach’s (b. 1931) remarkable group of paintings of London’s post-war building sites. Auerbach was fascinated by the spectacle of the city emerging from the debris of the Second World War and combed London’s numerous building sites with his sketchbook in hand. Back in his studio he used these drawings to create paintings which he worked and re-worked over many months. The result was paintings with thickly built-up surfaces, more than an inch deep, of great energy and visual power.

olympicsitesketchbookworkcafedisplaywithpeopleforwebHaving learnt about the exhibition, the BSIX students visited major building sites across London, producing sketches and gathering source material as Auerbach would have done over 50 years ago. The contemporary building sites the students visited will shape the landscape of London over the coming years and included the Shard building site, located near London Bridge, and the Olympic site in Newham. Over a period of six weeks the students then produced various art works including those displayed here, taking inspiration from the sites they visited and aspects of Auerbach’s creative process, such as the working and re-working of an image to build up layers of information.

Download a copy of the Auerbach Teachers’ Resource pack

With thanks to the MACE group for their kind assistance with the project

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