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Everything Was Moving: Photography from the 60s and 70s @ Barbican Art Gallery

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by John Burns (subscribe)
I am a writer and teacher, out and about in the world but with Nottingham never far from my heart.
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Still images to move the soul
The Barbican Centre
Renowned throughout the world as a centre of art and culture in the City of London, the Barbican Centre on Silk Street has pulled it out of the bag once again with this fascinating exhibition of photographic work from one of the most intense eras of social change in recent history.

Right from the outset, the exhibition throws us a curveball - an antithesis that puts us in the right frame of mind to question and think critically about everything we see. On the one hand we have the exhibition's title - Everything Was Moving - and on the other we have the exhibition's content; a series of evocative still and static images that tell the story of a dynamic couple of decades.

It is this dichotomy between the moving and the stationary that makes the exhibition so instantly absorbing and elevates it above the level of just another gallery of pictures. Instead, those visiting the gallery are drawn through a detailed examination of the importance and power of photography as a medium, particularly during such a turbulent and ephemeral time.

While most images exist in a very definite time, some seem to exist outside it all together. The image of the pocketwatch stopped at 11:02 on August 9th 1945, the day of the bombing of Nagasaki, appears to be a direct affirmation of time, but in fact this image – taken by Japanese photographer Shomei Tomatsu – was shot in 1961. It is this complete subversion of time that makes the image so compelling.

More than 400 images are housed in the collection, which includes work from David Goldblatt, Raghubir Singh and Boris Mikhailov amongst many other photographic artists. Far more than a collection of documents from a bygone age, Everything Was Moving presents a historical record that is as vibrant and dynamic as it is spellbinding.

The exhibition runs until January 2013.
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Why? A stunning and moving journey through still images.
When: Mon & Tue, Fri-Sun 11am-8pm, Wed 11am-6pm, Thu 11am-10pm, ends Jan 13
Where: Barbican Centre Silk Street London EC2Y 8DS
Cost: £12, adv £10, concs £8, adv concs/ages 13-17 £7, adv ages 13-17 £6, under 13s free
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