Review: Affinities and Inheritance: Jeremy Deller’s All that is Solid Melts into Air at the Laing Art Gallery

The Victorianist: BAVS Postgraduates

Dr Kate Katigbak

The travelling exhibit All that is Solid Melts into Air, curated by Jeremy Deller, made its way north this past summer to the Laing Gallery in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, where I had the opportunity to walk through it. I was drawn to the exhibit immediately when I saw its advertisement on the outer wall of the gallery: of all the quotes one can draw from Marx, ‘All that is solid melts into air’ has become particularly loaded, due to Marshall Berman’s seminal work on modernity which bears the same title. Berman used the phrase to illustrate Marx’s connection to modernism, wherein ‘The cosmic scope and visionary grandeur of this image, its highly compressed and dramatic power, its vaguely apocalyptic undertones, the ambiguity of its point of view’ relate to the modernist visions of Baudelaire, Dostoevsky and Kierkegaard.[1]

I entered the exhibit familiar with these ideas, but unsure…

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