Laura Oldfield Ford

Earlier this year I went to an exhibition followed by a discussion at  The Towner Gallery  in Eastbourne called Recording Britain  . I witnessed some fascinating drawings and paintings from a variety of British artists. Most of the artwork in the collection is between 1939-1942. However, there are a few more recent drawings and photographs in the collection. I was particularly drawn to a drawing by Laura Oldfield Ford . It was an urban scene from a London suburb in which a menacing Brutalist high-rise occupies the backdrop. The drawings offered a distinctive punk visual aesthetic; I was instantly drawn to her work.

These stylish dystopian scenes  made me think about the ‘derives’ (drifts) I have been on around the backstreets of inner-city Tokyo. A city no different than London being centres for free enterprise and modernity. Yet in Tokyo, particularly in the sprawling metropolis of Nakano-ku  and Shinjuku-ku, old crumbling relics of the Showa Period are still in abundance yet inevitably and sadly their days are numbered. I also learned that Oldfield is a psychogeographer  and ‘has organized drifts, flag burning ceremonies, mass activisms and other performance pieces in an unconventional extension of her practice’. (C.Lomax, July 2008).

To celebrate a few pieces of her work in a slide show, I’ve accompanied Mountain’s 1971 Nantucket Sleighride. An instrumental piece that later gained more acclaimed when used for the political/current affairs program Weekend World in the late 1970s.


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