Blur 21: Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Dave Rowntree and Alex James at Londonewcastle

By Ben Miller | 10 August 2012
A photo of four young men standing in line in t-shirts against a black backdrop as a band
© Paul Postle
Exhibition: Blur 21: The Exhibition, Londonewcastle Project Space, London, until August 14 2012

“It’s hard not to get a good photograph of Graham live,” admits Paul Postle, whose black and white shot of Graham Coxon, mid-air in a photo which is thrilling but hardly atypical given Coxon’s taste for on-stage hyperactivity, features in this exhibition.

A photo of a band of four young men in a concrete tunnel looking sullen into the lens
An alternate shot from an NME shoot in Hammersmith (August 1995)© Kevin Cummins
The guitarist and his bandmates are all the rage this year. Blur 21: The Box, the collection of just about everything they’ve ever recorded and more, has just been released. The band’s current tour – rattling off expansive new material which threatens to match the best of their old stuff – suggests they might have a couple of decades more ahead of them.

From floppy-haired beginnings and the mockney tomfoolery of Parklife to the saccharine send-up of Girls and Boys and pop-art album covers, this is a band who seem to have been driven by Damon Albarn’s famed image consciousness.

“They have always collaborated with the best photographers, artists and graphic designers,” says curator Dave Brolan, observing a “powerful visual identity” which, he thinks, “perfectly reflects their music and ideas.”

A photo of two men under an underground staring at the camera. One of them is smoking
Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon© Kevin Cummins
“This exhibition brings together photography and design produced during the last 21 years, from the sketched seeds of ideas for a logo to the most recent portrait session.”

Alongside previously unseen artworks, Julian Opie, Banksy and photographers synonymous with the 1990s, such as Kevin Cummins, are represented. From the offset, you sense Blur knew their potential place in history.

“We always worked well together to record events,” says Postel. “They were always easy to shoot and worked with me to get the best results. In hindsight, it produced far more meaningful shots.”

  • Open 12pm-8pm (6pm Saturday and Sunday). Admission free.

More pictures:

A photo of a cover for a piece of vinyl showing a man and a woman embracing at sunset
The cover for single Girls and Boys, with post-it note instructions from Dave Balfe of Food Records© Stylorouge
A black and white photo of a guitarist in a white shirt and jeans jumping on stage
Coxon is one of the most respected guitarists of his generation
© Paul Postle
A photo of a man spraying the words modern life is rubbish on a blue wall
Albarn sprays a few iconic words in Clacton (1995)
© Kevin Cummins
A black and white photo of a band wearing various costumes on an urban street
The Parklife video
© Paul Postle
A photo of a band of young men looking over a balcony in a complex smiling downwards
The view from the balcony at EMI
© Chris Taylor
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