Crash into the strange world of JC Ballard

The provocative, visionary writer JG Ballard claimed that he turned to science fiction in the 1950s because he didn t want to write the Hampstead novel. The great thing about science fiction was that nobody in it lived in Hampstead, he said. The Gagosi

The provocative, visionary writer JG Ballard claimed that he turned to science fiction in the 1950s because he didn't want to write the Hampstead novel. "The great thing about science fiction was that nobody in it lived in Hampstead," he said.

The Gagosian Gallery in King's Cross is staging an exhibition in homage to Ballard, who died last spring.

Crash - taking its title from his famous eponymous novel - is a response to the impact and cultural significance of his work.

It brings together artists who inspired Ballard along with contemporaries who shared his vision and younger artists inspired by it.


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Crash is as rich and strange as a Ballard novel. There are surprises everywhere you turn - from the sinister glittering crystals of Roger Hiorn's pendant sculpture to the louche goings-on in Hans Bellmer's gouache A Hard-Working Family Is The Opium Of The People.

Paul McCarthy's Mechanical Pig, waving its trotters, is as disconcerting as the fractured spaghetti junction in Florian Maier-Aichen's Untitled (Freeway Crash).

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But the work that stays with me is not born of the futuristic Ballardian universe but relates to the alienation experienced within it - Edward Hopper's melancholy Intermission (pictured).

o Crash runs until April 1 at that gallery at 6-24 Britannia Street. Open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 6pm.

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