Why are we fascinated by ruins? They recall the glory of dead civilisations and the certain end of our own. They stand as monuments to historic disasters, but also provoke dreams about futures born from destruction and decay. Ruins are bleak but alluring reminders of our vulnerable place in time and space. For centuries, ruins have attracted artists: among them J.M.W. Turner, Gustave Dorι, Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland, Patrick Caulf eld, Tacita Dean, and Jane and Louise Wilson. Ruin Lust explores the history of this obsession, from the art of the picturesque in the eighteenth century, through the wreckage of two world wars, to contemporary artists complex attitudes to the ruins of the recent past.
Brian Dillon is a novelist, critic and curator who has explored many ancient and modern ruins, and written widely on the history of ruination in art and culture. His books include: Objects in this Mirror: Essays; Sanctuary; In the Dark Room; and Ruins, an anthology of artists and critics ref ections on ruination. He is UK editor of Cabinet magazine, and reader in critical writing at the Royal College of Art.
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