8 May–6 July 2013
The exhibition is curated by Andrea Rose, Director of Visual Art, British Council and curator of Kossoff’s Venice Biennale exhibition in 1995.
London is the city where Leon Kossoff was born and grew up, and which he has mined with extraordinary invention throughout his working life.
The exhibition includes over 90 drawings and 10 paintings, many rarely shown before, and spanning the artist’s career: from City bomb sites of the early 1950s to recent drawings of Arnold Circus, a community of redbrick buildings off Shoreditch High Street that were London’s most radical experiment in social housing when they were unveiled in 1900. Kossoff’s London opens up between these two poles to reveal his feel for quickness and change: buildings on the point of demolition; the railway network as the process of electrification begins; swimming pools swarming with children; streets; schools; grand London churches that serve successive waves of immigrants (Huguenot, Jewish, Bengali); stations; back gardens, and trains – overground and underground – carrying millions of Londoners in and out of the city, day after day, as the city transforms itself around them.
Kossoff has said: ‘London seems to be in my bloodstream. It is always moving – the skies, the streets, the buildings. The people who walk past me when I draw have become part of my life.’
The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to see Kossoff’s drawings and related paintings in such a historic sweep, and to inhabit the London that he has made peculiarly his own.