Tim Ronalds reads Edward Woodman

Words:
Pamela Buxton

To start the new year, Pamela Buxton asked five architects to tell her about a book they particularly admire. First was Tim Ronalds, on The Artist’s Eye

Richard Wilson, standing in the original installation of 20:50, Matt’s Gallery, London, 1987.
Richard Wilson, standing in the original installation of 20:50, Matt’s Gallery, London, 1987. Credit: Edward Woodman

I have piles of architectural monographs by my bed that sit largely unread. The book I’ve most enjoyed reading this year is Edward Woodman: The Artist’s Eye. Edward Woodman is a photographer who in the 1980s and 1990s photographed the work of the young British artists of those decades. Helen Chadwick, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Bill Viola, Cornelia Parker, Mona Hatoum, Edward Allington and Mark Wallinger all found in Woodman an artistry and empathy that captured the essence of their work. This book, which was published to coincide with an exhibition of Woodman’s work, is filled with photographs of the seminal artwork of this fertile period – mostly sculpture, installation and performance pieces. He photographed art not as objects, but as the idea and the experience.

  • Cornelia Parker, Thirty Pieces of Silver, 1988 (work in progress)
    Cornelia Parker, Thirty Pieces of Silver, 1988 (work in progress) Credit: Edward Woodman
  • Front cover of Edward Woodman The Artist’s Eye
    Front cover of Edward Woodman The Artist’s Eye
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My favourites are of the steam roller crushing silverware on a road, the process of Cornelia Parker making her ‘Thirty pieces of Silver’; of Helen Chadwick’s installation ‘Blood Hyphen’, a red laser beam slicing through a bisected chapel; of Richard Wilson standing in his installation 20:50 which filled a gallery with black engine oil – there are many others. I met Edward while teaching at the Architectural Association and we became friends. He was photographing models and paintings of Zaha Hadid’s first works then. He took a vibrant photo of my studio in Orde Hall Street in Holborn, which is in the book.

The words of architectural monographs don’t seem to stick in my mind, but the images in this book absolutely do.

Edward Woodman: The Artist’s Eye, Edited by Gilane Tawadros, Judy Adam. Text by Ian Jeffrey, Woodrow Kernohan, Art/Books, 2018

Tim Ronalds is a director at Tim Ronalds Architects 


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