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Before We Were Men: With David Gwinnutt, John Maybury, Ian Massey + Jeffrey Hinton at the National Portrait Gallery on March 23

//John Maybury, Crowndale Road, c. 1981. Photo © David Gwinnutt//

//Leigh Bowery, Farrell House, Stepney Green, c. 1983. Photo © David Gwinnutt//

I am one of the guests of the photographer David Gwinnutt at an event being staged next month to coincide with the opening of his forthcoming exhibition at London’s National Portrait Gallery.

Before We Were Men showcases Gwinnutt’s documentation – with hand-held camera and exclusive use of natural light –  of creative London in the 1980s. Among his subjects were the designer/performance artist Leigh Bowery, artists Cerith Wyn Evans, Duggie Fields, Gilbert & George and Grayson Perry and dancer/choreographer Michael Clark.

//Cerith Wyn Evans on the set of his film Epiphany. Royal College of Art, 1984. Photo © David Gwinnutt//

//Gilbert & George, Fournier Street, east London, c. 1982. Photo © David Gwinnutt//

Gwinnutt arrived in the capital from his native Derbyshire in 1979, the year Margaret Thatcher was installed in Downing Street. I remember the atmosphere in London clearly, having voted for the first time in the general election that May. The premonitions of dread many felt at the time were played out as Thatcher and her followers thwacked the decencies which had been installed in the post-war years, crushed the unions and ravaged social housing and the public sector for their own gain over the following decade.

With Trump, Bannon, Conway, Miller and Spicer in the White House and the entitlement of the ghastly likes of Farage, Le Pen and Wilders in Europe, that dread has returned in spades, lending poignancy to Gwinnutt’s images of individuals defiantly existing against the authoritarian grain.

//Derek Jarman, Phoenix House, Charing Cross Road, 1982. Photo © David Gwinnutt//

I’ll be joining Gwinnutt to talk about his exhibition, the 80s and now with film-maker John Maybury, arts writer and historian Dr Ian Massey and film-maker/DJ Jeffrey Hinton at the NPG ‘Late Shift’ event on the 23rd. As well as us rabbiting, there will be screenings of Maybury’s films and Hinton will DJ.

Come along. It will be fun.

The event starts at 7pm on Thursday March 23. Book tickets here.

Before We Were Men runs from March 9 to September 24, 2017. Details here.

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Author: / Published: Feb 23rd, 2017 / Category: 1980s, 2010s, Exhibitions, London, Photographic portraiture, Photography, Uncategorized / Comments: None

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