Horror in the Modernist Block

25 November 2022 – 1 May 2023

Artists: Laëtitia Badaut Haussmann, Simon & Tom Bloor, Ruth Claxton, Shezad Dawood, Ola Hassanain, Ho Tzu Nyen, Richard Hughes, Karim Kal, Kihlberg & Henry, Firenze Lai, Diego Marcon, Ismael Monticelli, NT, Amba Sayal-Bennett, Seher Shah, Monika Sosnowska, Maria Taniguchi, Abbas Zahedi.

Modernist architecture is often associated with the horror genre. In fiction and film, high-rise towers, concrete estates and glass pavilions form the backdrop to terrifying stories of dystopias. Ikon presents new and recent work by 20 UK and international contemporary artists that explore the relationship between architectural modernism and horror.

The exhibition takes Birmingham as its starting point, a city renowned for its brutalist architecture. It unpacks the troubled histories and legacies of modernist buildings through film, photography, sculpture, installation, painting, drawing and printmaking.

Artworks in the exhibition link horror tropes (suspense, darkness, fear) with qualities of modernist design, and the real violence and trauma of its construction and destruction.

Configured in dialogue with the architecture of Ikon’s galleries and neo-gothic building, the exhibition takes viewers on a journey that highlights how the design and features of a building can shape not only our movement and perception, but also our deepest fears.