An exhibition of photos from The Writing On The Wall
11th July - 1st August 2015
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Roger Perry’s The Writing on the Wall was last seen in book shops nearly 40 years ago. It was arguably the first major survey of London’s fledgling graffiti scene, and helped establish a trend which has ultimately led to the massive proliferation of such books, visible in nearly every book store and museum gift shop in the world.
The graffiti Perry photographs can be seen as the roots of what we’re familiar with today. It’s a far more visceral means of communication, that for the most part is less worried about the style of the writing, and more concerned with the content of the message. At a time when graffiti had more in common with Blake than Basquiat, it’s self promotion, poetry and political discourse, all played out on the streets of 1970s London.
The photos give us a fascinating window into the countercultural scene at the time, with Perry giving an impartial platform to anyone and everyone that wanted to be heard over the backdrop of urban decay and regeneration. A number of fascinating figures from the time play a key role in this story of London graffiti, including members of situationist group King Mob, poet and playwright Heathcote Williams, journalist Neil Lyndon and members of the legendary ska band Madness.
The exhibition is being put on to mark both the 40th anniversary of the book’s compilation, and the recent republication that was funded through Kickstarter, well exceeding its desired funding target. Put on thanks to kind support from Carhartt Work In Progress, the exhibition is a chance to have Perry’s archive of photos re-evaluated, giving them their proper place in the canon of seminal graffiti photography, having been seemingly ‘lost’ for so long.
This is the first time these photos have been shown in nearly four decades, with the original framed prints having been bought out of storage for the occasion. Alongside a selection of photos from the book, the exhibition features a large array of ephemera, including letters, notes, press cuttings and cameras.
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Kindly sponsored by Carhartt Work In Progress.
11th July - 1st August
Mon - Sat / 12pm - 6pm
The Horse Hospital
Nearest tube - Russell Square.
Visit the Horse Hospital website for more information.