“The camera,” said Orson Welles, “is much more than a recording apparatus, it is a medium via which messages reach us from another world.” It was the camera, and the political and cultural circumstances of picture-making during the Second World War, that first brought Bill Brandt and Henry Moore together. During the Blitz, these two artists—a German and an Englishman—each produced images depicting people sheltering in the London Underground. These “shelter pictures” were circulated to millions in the form of photographic reproductions on the pages of magazines. Today they rank among the most iconic works of the period.
This exhibition begins with these wartime works, setting their production within the visual culture of the war, and examines the parallel and intersecting paths of the artists through the postwar period. Key themes include war, industry, and coal mining; urban space, living conditions, and family life; landscape and the great megalithic sites of Britain; and found objects, fragments of nature, and the human body.