Ballardian Visions

Le Reve-Henri Rousseau 1910
Le Reve-Henri Rousseau 1910

I have previously highlighted the influence of the Surrealists and Pop Artists upon J.G. Ballard, one of the few modern writers whose name is now an adjective; the word Ballardian conjures up visions of dystopian modernity, denuded man-made landscapes, the all-consuming nature of mass media, entropy, psychological withdrawal and anomie.

This most visual of writers has been a source of inspiration to artists in his turn, either directly referencing his work or by touching upon Ballardian themes.

I have taken liberties with this selection of ‘Ballardian’ imagery. Obviously Rousseau pre-dates The Drowned World and Warhol is directly stated by Ballard as an influence in The Atrocity Exhibition, but in some sense they seem to me Ballardian. The unconscious forms its own connections, there are no accidents and there are no coincidences.

Wittgenstein in New York-Eduardo Paolozzi-1965
Wittgenstein in New York-Eduardo Paolozzi-1965
Spiral Jetty-Robert Jetty 1973
Spiral Jetty-Robert Smithson 1973
JG-Still-Tachita Dean-2013
JG-helmut newtonTachita Dean-2013
Peter Klasen-The Fire Mouth 1965
Peter Klasen-The Fire Mouth 1965
Jackie-Andy Warhol 1964
Jackie-Andy Warhol 1964
Crashed Cars Exhibition-J.G Ballard 1970
Crashed Cars Exhibition-J.G Ballard 1970
Orange Car Crash-Andy Warhol 1963
Orange Car Crash-Andy Warhol 1963
Westway
Westway
Balfron Towers
Balfron Towers
Autopia 2-Dan Holdsworth
Autopia 2-Dan Holdsworth
Bergstrom Over Paris-Helmut Newton 1976
Bergstrom Over Paris-Helmut Newton 1976
T.V Murder, Cannes-Helmut Newton 1975
T.V Murder, Cannes-Helmut Newton 1975
Scenes From the Passion:The Hawthorne Tree-George Shaw 2001
Scenes From the Passion:The Hawthorne Tree-George Shaw 2001
Someone else's House-George Shaw 2018
Someone else’s House-George Shaw 2018
Peter Klasen-Blue Dream 2018
Peter Klasen-Blue Dream 2018

 

 

 

28 thoughts on “Ballardian Visions

    1. Thank you Nikita, I hope I am not too far wrong in my view of Ballardian. The Spiral Jetty is very The Voices of Time and Klasen’s work should feature as a cover for Crash.

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      1. Well there is the ecological catastrophe side, the visionary side, the dysfunction technological side, the suburban anomie side, visions of boredom and perverse freedom. The material is there.

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      2. Or of course Ford Prefect’s wise comment, in the pub, as the world is poised to end, to which Arthur says, “they (Readers Digest) have a page for people like you.” He’s not being complementary.

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  1. The Orange Car Crash somehow brought to mind Mary Jo Kopechne, though in 1963 she had six years left of her life, and she was not crushed, but suffocated, gasping, in the submerged car. A dark fifty year anniversary obscured by the Moon Landings. Life framed by the glass rectangle, the future seen narrowly in twin cones of light, the past glimpsed in the mirrors. The entitled man taking the chauffeur’s keys, the passenger, excited, laughing, or perhaps now frightened, regretting rejecting him that made him so reckless. The tyres scattering dirt. Veering and accelerating, clipping obstacles … running out of road. The slow-motion stupid inevitability of it all. Him walking away. Again and again. And we don’t learn. The entitled man, arrogant, laughing optimism brushing aside objections. Us the willing passengers, sycophantic, excited, and the wise or fearful scattered like dirt. Our failure to reach to grasp the wheel. The slow-motion stupid inevitability of it all. Him walking away. Again and again.

    Liked by 1 person

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