Epic & the Everyday: Contemporary Photographic Art

Hayward Gallery

Hayward Gallery, 23 June – 29 August 1994

The Epic & the Everyday was an exhibition of contemporary photography curated by James Lingwood and Martin Caiger-Smith.

It featured 13 artists from Europe and North America, each of whom were concerned with ‘the real world, with ordinary life: with the everyday, the vernacular, the familiar, whether people or places.’

The artists in the exhibition were: Bernd and Hilla Becher, Jean-Marc Bustamante, John Coplans, Patrick Faigenbaum, Andreas Gursky, Craigie Horsfield, Reinhard Mucha, Gabriel Orozco, Robert Smithson, Annelies Štrba, Thomas Struth and Jeff Wall.

The Epic & the Everyday took place on the lower floor of the Hayward Gallery, and ran concurrently with an exhibition of the work of Pierre Bonnard (Bonnard at Le Bosquet).

Among the works exhibited were Thomas Struth’s deserted cityscapes, John Coplans’s images of his own naked body and Gursky’s View Over Cairo (1993).

As Lingwood and Caiger-smith explained in the exhibition guide, The Epic & the Everyday was an ‘exploration of the real world, of people and things, rather than the creation of internal or fictional worlds’. It was concerned with ‘looking closely, and attentively.’

82,767 visitors attended The Epic & the Everyday. Marina Benjamin in The Evening Standard declared that each of the works ‘deliver ... the minutiae of daily life writ large.’

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