Reality is a Dirty Word

By Jo Phillips

From the 1st of December 2016 to the 3rd of January 2017, Proud Galleries is presenting a new exhibition ‘Reality is a Dirty Word’, which is a captivating look at post-war London through the lens of one of the country’s greatest filmmakers, Ken Russell. He is one of Britain’s most exuberant characters and gives an insight into a lost London, in this exhibition of his original prints. Russell was a film director and made ground breaking works, coined as ‘the wild man of British cinema’. Before he became a film director, he worked as a photographer, capturing humorous scenes which were in stark contrast to the post-war recovery feeling. Russell created mini-dramas out of ordinary mundane moments, including a landlady in Hyde Park breaking archaic regulations, children dressed in adult’s clothes and a dancer wearing an upturned hip bath like tortoise shell. Speaking of his work, Russell said, “In a way I was making still films. Some of the photographs were catch-as-catch-can, but I learnt the value of the perfect composition”. His quiet portraits are an exceptional historical record, documenting the fashions, cultures and most importantly the people, during this time of transition.
Proud Chelsea is exhibiting his last signed body of work which is an exclusive collection of rare prints illustrating his rebellious nature and revealing an honest insight into the repercussions of World War Two in Britain.

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