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Colin St John Wilson and the independent group: Art, science and the psychologising of space

Kite, Stephen ORCID: 2013. Colin St John Wilson and the independent group: Art, science and the psychologising of space. Journal of Visual Culture 12 (2) , pp. 245-261. 10.1177/1470412913491069

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As an architect with the London County Council (LCC), a newspaper columnist, friend of artists and an incipient collector, Colin St John Wilson is a fascinating figure in the interacting circles of 1950s London. It was Wilson’s sketch-plan that ordered the ‘market-stalls’ of the This is Tomorrow exhibition and – in the opinion of Theo Crosby – the display he created with architect Peter Carter, engineer Frank Newby and sculptor Robert Adams most closely achieved the exhibition’s original aim of an anonymous synthesis of the arts. In this article, the author interprets Wilson’s life, work and theory as both critique and commentary in an examination of three pertinent issues within the Independent Group: the possibilities of artistic collaboration in architecture; the creative tension in architecture between science/technology and art/humanism; and the potential for a deeper psychologising of space – linked to psychoanalytical debates of the time. Interrogating these concerns is of importance, the author proposes, as they were so central to the discourses and form-making of architecture both at the time and in the immediate futures of the 1960s, the 1970s and afterwards.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Architecture
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Adrian Stokes; the British School of psychoanalysis; Brutalism; Colin St John Wilson; Melanie Klein; post-war British architecture
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 1470-4129
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 12:05

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