John Riddy: Ideal World

10 Nov - 22 Dec 2000 Soho Square

John Riddy’s photographs present an explicitly silent view of the world. Until recently his work has been solely concerned with the architectural environment that surrounds us. Time, atmosphere, spatial illusion and cultural histories are compressed and extended in pictures that aim to defeat our expectations of black and white photographic descriptions.


This exhibition of recent work focuses on ideal forms, starting with the series of photographs Riddy made in response to Praeterita, John Ruskin’s autobiography. Accepted icons from art history – the Alps, seascapes and cloudscapes – are shown along side photographs of 20th Century architectural projects. Firminy Vert, near Lyon, designed by Le Corbusier in the1950s and the Garbetella, a seminal garden estate in Rome, built by a consortium of architects during the 1920s. Both projects are attempts to realise the modern utopia; urban life in a green environment. Riddy’s photographs articulate the particular pathos of these places echoing his earlier photographs of 30s modernism in Britain and classical sites in Rome.

'Riddy’s photographs reveal the workings of time but without irony or, for that matter, any strong sense of melancholy. This is the way of the world, he would seem to say: things weather and are sometimes disfigured or abused, and modernism is no more immune than the imperial past.'


– Andrew Mead