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Title: Three ecologies : regeneration in postwar British art and architecture, 1945-1973
Author: Smith, G. S.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7429 0039
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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Focusing on the interdisciplinary context of the Independent Group (1952–55, IG from now), this thesis investigates the collision of visual arts, architecture and ecology in London across a period stretching roughly from the end of the Second World War (1939–45) to the mid-1970s. A traumatic, yet exhilarating time of rapid transformations, the postwar period was marked by an anxious insistence on bio-centric and eco-centric narratives of survival, integration, re-adaptation and above all, regeneration. In the mid-1940s, the shock and devastation of the war, coupled with a new attention to social welfare, had put the question of collective development under the spotlight, reigniting the age-old nature/nurture dispute across a number of governmental, academic and popular platforms. The economic boom of the 1950s and the onset of the consumer society advanced the terms of this debate to encompass new material realities and behavioural patterns. The IG was quick to register this shift. Ecology, anthropology and sociology gained popularity among group members as viable theoretical models with avant-garde credentials for mediating between nature and culture when confronting the particular phenomenon of a changing visual environment. The chapters in my thesis focus in particular on the work of the architects Peter and Alison Smithson, alongside the artists Nigel Henderson, Magda Cordell, and John McHale. Ranging from photography to painting, urban planning, exhibition design, criticism and fiction, their practices offer some of the most perceptive interpretations of how the new landscape was transforming society at its core.
Supervisor: Fer, B. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available