Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Giovanni Battista Piranesi on Rome (and its baroque architecture)

Adler Guerrier

“Untitled (flaneur nyc/mia)”, 1999-2001 (detail).

Again the iconic Empire State Building, as here, and here and there.

William Cordova + Wright (is it Wright?)

"The House that Frank Lloyd Wright built 4 Fred Hampton and Mark Clark", 2006 (installation view, Arndt & Partner, Berlin, 2006).

Josiah McElheny

The work of McElheny establishes an indirect and subtle relationship with architecture. Not framing architecture then, but rather "reflecting" on its conceptual approaches.
Here an excellent series of interviews and material: Loos, Noguchi and Fuller....

“Adolf Loos’ Ornament and Crime“, 2002
Blown glass, wood, glass, and electric lighting, case dimensions: 49 x 60 x 10 1/2 inches. Collection of the Detroit Institute of the Arts. Photo by Tom Van Eynde . Courtesy Donald Young Gallery, Chicago. With Art21 Copyright Notice.

“Modernity circa 1952, Mirrored and Reflected Infinitely”, detail. 2004
Mirrored blown glass, chrome metal, glass, mirror, electric lighting, 30 1/2 x 56 1/2 x 18 1/2 inches
Collection Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo by Tom Van Eynde. Courtesy Donald Young Gallery, Chicago.

Christian Philipp Müller "Forgotten Future"

Forgotten Future

text below, taken here.

April 29 – June 28, 1992
Kunstverein Munich

Preliminary Room
– Untitled, 1990, two enamel plaques (Antwerp / Villes radieuses); 41 x 27 inches /
85 x 39 inches; courtesy of Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Antwerp
– Wall text
– Display case with documents about Le poème éléctronique by Edgard Varèse
– Cinema display case with documents about Anders als du und ich, § 175 by Veit Harlan

Central Exhibition Space
– Das unvollständige Gedicht, 1992, wood, painted; carpet, two glass doors with electronic
closing mechanisms, motion detector, CD player with two loudspeakers (composition of
Le poème éléctronique by Edgard Varèse, 8 min.); 178 x 204 inches; collection of
Günther Lorenz, Munich
– Nomenklatur, 1992, two projectors with 123 small-format slides; courtesy of Galerie
Christian Nagel, Cologne / Berlin
– Model of the Philips Pavilion at the World’s Fair in Brussels (1958) on a base
– Yellow wall element: ten original drawings, a photograph of Le Corbusier and for
fragments of the score of Le poème éléctronique
– Pink wall component: eight works on paper, a photograph, two illuminated kinetic
objects and an architectural model by Nicolas Schöffer

Side Room 1
– und in München, 1992, wall text; courtesy of Galerie Christian Nagel, Cologne / Berlin

Side Room 2
– Das Dritte Geschlecht (with Madeleine von Bernsdorff), 1992, video, 9 min.; courtesy of
Galerie Christian Nagel, Cologne / Berlin
– Narrow passageway

In the Munich Kunstverein, Müller developed a confrontation with late modernism and its utopias: with the Philips Pavilion realization designed by Le Corbusier together with Iannis Xenakis and Edgard Varèse for the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels, with Veit Harlan’s film, Anders als du und ich (1957), and with Nicolas Schöffer’s book, Die kybernetische Stadt (1969). These three late modernist projects were presented through historical documents, commentaries, and quotations mounted on colored walls, along with Müller’s own treatment of the historical material, and models and reinterpretations of the originals.

The Philips Pavilion, a tent-like construction of hyperbolic paraboloids, was designed exclusively for the performance of the Poème électronique. During each eight-minute presentation, 500 visitors would be channeled through a Gesamtkunstwerk consisting of Varèse’s musical composition, Xenakis’ spatial design, and Le Corbusier’s projection of world history on the interior walls – a multimedia cosmology that began with apes and ended with Le Corbusier’s own work. In the Munich Kunstverein, Müller presented a model of the pavilion along with the “minuscule bureau” from Le Corbusier’s large studio at 35 rue de Sèvres in Paris. This study was a tiny, windowless room constructed according to “Modulor” proportions (226 x 259 x 226 cm). Containing only a table, a chair, a wall painting, and a sculpture mounted on a pedestal, it was intended to accommodate a maximum of four visitors. The confining character of the fully enclosed space was, according to Le Corbusier, supposed to force visitors to be concise and objective. Müller used the measurements of Le Corbusier’s study to create an installation doubling its structure. The dimensions of both spaces were identical to those of the “minuscule bureau,” and since they were constructed as mirror images of each other, the second space could only be entered through the first. The latter contained a built-in table like the original but without chairs. Unlike Le Corbusier’s colored design, this space was pure white, with no wall segments or sculpture. The second space reversed this principle. Completely lined with black carpet, it consisted of a black cube whose dimensions the viewer could not easily assimilate.

To enter the white space of Le Corbusier’s study, visitors had to pass through a light-activated electric barrier, the only means by which the door could be opened and closed. A second, secured glass door blocked the entrance to the black cube. Only when the first door was closed did the second one open, allowing visitors to enter, and then closing again behind them. Triggered by a motion sensor, Varèse’s eight-minute composition Poème électronique would then play in the black box. Here, the monumental presentation of world history originally created for the Philips Pavilion was repeated in a space whose door could only be opened by means of an alarm button. Near this installation, Müller displayed Le Corbusier’s original “Modulor” drawings and sketches on a yellow partition wall along with Varèse’s scores as well as quotations from Le Corbusier on his “bureau minuscule.”

In the same large hall of the Kunstverein, another late modern utopia was presented on a low skin colored partition wall. Here, the notion of reproductive hygiene was the central theme with the vision of the “cybernetic city” of Paris developed by Nicolas Schöffer in 1969. The life span of the city’s inhabitants was completely planned out, from the “value increase in time” to the “Center for Sexual Recreation.” In the Munich exhibition, Müller presented examples from Schöffer’s planning as well as his detailed specifications and graphic models, placing them into relation to Le Corbusier’s synaesthetic pavilion.

In the next room, two enamel panels from Müller’s 1990 exhibition at the Galerie Micheline Szwajcer (see p. 97) were mounted on the wall adjacent to the large exhibition hall on the right. As in the Szwajcer exhibition, the right-hand panel listed the world “metropolises” from Le Corbusier’s plans for Villes radieuses, while the left-hand panel showed the enlarged cover of a tourist brochure from Antwerp with a photograph of the cathedral. Müller continued Le Corbusier’s list of cities horizontally around the walls of the room, handwriting his own exhibition locations in chronological order from 1986 to 1992.

The remaining wall featured a glass vitrine containing other original documents from Le Corbusier that were placed next to a long wooden bench. As a counterpoint to Le Corbusier and Schöffer, Müller also presented one of the prominent oppon­ents of modernism in a cinematic showcase of Veit Harlan’s film, Anders als du und ich. The director had achieved recognition in the Nazi era with anti-Semitic agitation films such as Jud Süss; in 1957, the year of Müller’s birth, he produced a drama combining homophobia and the rejection of artistic abstraction in a single narrative. The film, Anders als du und ich, portrays the conversion of a homosexual abstract artist into a heterosexual representational painter. In Munich, the cinematic showcase presented posters, film stills, and critical reviews of the film. Visitors had to pass through a plastic tube stretched into a tunnel to enter the next room where they were confronted with Müller’s own version, created together with Madeleine Bernstorff — a trailer with a montage of scenes the motion picture rating organization FSK confiscated in the nineteen-fifties. Forgotten Future reconstructed late modernism through a tour of its unrealized utopias; Müller traced the end of these utopias not simply by studying them, but by producing connections between them.

Christian Philipp Müller + Le Corbusier #2

Antwerp, Left Bank

text below, taken here.

February 16 – March 17, 1990

Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Antwerpen Antwerp

– Untitled, 1990, two enamel plaques (Antwerp / Villes radieuses); 41 x 27 inches /
85 x 39 inches

– Three For Antwerp, 1990, three aluminum elements covered with a projection screen,
three projectors with identical small-format slides; each 72 x 86 x 47 inches

– Promenade dans une Ville radieuse non realisée, 1990, artist book, silkscreen on
cardboard (16 pages); 9 x 9 inches, edition of 125 Courtesy of Galerie Micheline
Szwajcer, Antwerp

In his first gallery exhibition, Christian Philipp Müller presented a “Promenade dans une Ville Radieuse non réalisée.” The invitation to the exhibition included a quotation from Le Corbusier’s La Ville radieuse: “In place of so many small, scattered skyscrapers, a few large ones will be put up between 42nd Street and 55th Street, in groups. Distance will be overcome. And hours will be saved and usable. In Algiers, a single skyscraper will suffice. In Barcelona, two skyscrapers. In Antwerp, three skyscrapers.” In 1933, Le Corbusier participated in a urbanistic competition for the city of Antwerp. His contribution was the construction of a Ville radieuse. The competition results remained unrealized, but Le Corbusier’s La Ville radieuse was published in 1935 as the principle of standardized urban planning, a “ville verte,” an urbanism using technology to bring nature back into the city.

At Müller’s exhibition at the Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, visitors encountered a street-like arrangement with two enamel panels installed at the beginning. The right panel showed an original impression of the title page of the book with a list of the cities for which Le Corbusier designed Villes radieuses. Here, Antwerp appeared in ninth place. To the left, a photograph showed the central building on which Le Corbusier’s plan was oriented, the cathedral of Antwerp. Above the cathedral was the word “Ant­werpen,” modeled on the cover of the 1990 tourist brochure published by the city of Antwerp. In the exhibition space at the end of the “street” were three objects, each 183 centimeters high (the ideal height of Le Corbusier’s “Modulor”) and 220 centimeters wide. Constructed of iridescent cinema screen tied to steel scaffolds, they served as models of the three unrealized skyscrapers for Antwerp. From these objects, identical slides were projected onto the wall, each showing the site for which the skyscrapers were planned: a scene with grass, a wooden hut, and a donkey in the sunset. In the background, only a banal highrise stood in for Le Corbusier’s skyscraper.

For the exhibition, Müller produced an artist’s book including a silkscreen of Le Corbusier’s plans for Antwerp, sections of the publication La Ville radieuse, photographs of Antwerp culture, and Müller’s rereading of the city, a walk, the Promenade dans une Ville radieuse non réalisée. The loose-leaf notebook described a tour through an unrealized urbanistic design for Antwerp, following Le Corbusier’s plans for the left bank of the Schelde. The artist himself did not conduct tours of the city, but gallery visitors were invited to set out with the artist book—unlike any other travel guide in its form and material for an unknown, culturally impoverished district of Antwerp. At the end, the notebook was signed by both authors: a facsimile showed Le Corbusier’s signature on a letter regarding the republication of La Ville radieuse in 1964, while across from it on the last page Christian Philipp Müller signed the book with the edition number of his “original.” The prototype for the square book, designed in consistent “Modulor” proportions, was the publication for the Poème électronique in the Philips pavilion of the World’s Fair in Brussels in 1958.

Christian Philipp Müller + Le Corbusier #1

Individual Comfort

text below, taken here.

June 1 – September 30, 1993
Project Unité, Unité d’Habitation, Firminy

Apartment 389
– Individual Comfort, 1993, acoustic study (47 elements), framed; sound proofing
curtains, neon tubes, wall painting; Sammlung Karola Grässlin

Located near Saint-Étienne in southeastern France, Firminy was an exclusively industrial city into the nineteen-eighties, its architecture determined by the needs of early capitalist mass production. In 1954, Le Corbusier was commissioned by, then Mayor, Eugène Claudius-Petit to create an architec­tural center for the city, which had already been restruc­tured in the preceding years. Le Corbusier translated a concept from ancient Greek urbanism into the twentieth century by superimposing onto the city a network of four buildings: a sports stadium, a church, a cultural center, and a Unité d’Habitation. The fourteen-story Unité d’Habitation consisted of 414 apartments with up to six rooms each, along with “dwelling extensions,” public spaces, a pre­school, and a roof area with a combined playground and open-air theatre. The building was oriented along a north-south axis, with windows marking the beginning and ending points of the sun’s daily passage. Each apartment extended from the east to the west façade of the building, with a change of level in the central axis. In this way, each dwel­ling was provided with an open space extending over two floors with an office loft (or sometimes the parents’ bedroom) opening onto the living room. Le Corbusier used this and other open spaces, including chil­dren’s rooms that could be divided and varied by means of sliding doors, to create an architec­tural environment strongly oriented to communal structures.

Although the building was eventually completed in 1967, over the course of the nineteen-seventies, more and more tenants moved out. By 1982, all the residents had moved into the southern half of the structure. Access to the north part was blocked by a Plexiglas panel, permitting a view into the decaying north end of the building. Christian Philipp Müller became aware of the condition of the structure in 1988 during research for the exhibition Porte bonheur (1989). Following the exhibition, he and Yves Aupetitallot, then curator of the Maison de la Culture et de la Communication Saint-Étienne, decided to make the decaying Unité d’Habitation the focus of a site-specific art exhibition.

Five years later, Project Unité was realized on the seventh floor of the closed north half of the building. With Aupetitallot, the 28 empty apartments were handed over to an invited selection of around 40 artists, artists’ groups, and architects. Their works explored present-day socio-economic and cultural aspects that contributed to the failed utopia of modernist city planning in Firminy. The apartments themselves were renovated only in part, for the primary concern was to preserve the existing condition of the site to show its current state of decay. In accord with the architecture of the Unité, Aupetitallot also included transitional spaces and common rooms in the exhi­bition, using them as information centers, lounges, and meeting rooms for the presentation of similar projects, along with an information room on the Unité d’Habitation of which the residents had con­ceived. Prior to the exhibition, Müller had designed a newsletter which was published in three issues describing the plans for the project as well as the social conditions in the Unité.

In his own project (Apartment 389), however, Müller emphasized not only the progressive communalization Le Corbusier envisioned, but also a luxurious isolation. Upon entering the apartment, which con­stituted less the site than the object of the exhibition, visitors immediately found themselves in a muted environment. The walls were painted beige rather than bright white, while the glaring neon light at both ends of the spatial axis was softened by insulating curtains. The window fronts on both the east and the west sides were equipped with curtains that provided insulation against moisture, light, and noise, and created a cocoon-like environment. Along the entire length of the apartment, a series of gold-framed prints hanging at eye level showed the results of an acoustic study as well as tests of the insulation material and the apartments, with calculations for effective noise insulation in the dwellings. Each frame showed a document from this study and was accompanied by a label giving an English translation of the French text. Free copies of the acoustic study were available to residents and guests. In Project Unité, the diverse uses of the building, the utopian ideals on which it was based and its failures were developed in the apartments themselves and placed into relation to the current state of decay of Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation. Müller, on the other hand, transformed Apartment 389 into a protected individual space with a level of luxury too costly for the econom­ically disadvantaged residents of the Unité.

Anri Sala "Long sorrow"

Long sorrow

Produced by the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi. Hanging from the façade of a building in the suburbs of Berlin, nicknamed 'the long sorrow' by its inhabitants, the American saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc deftly performs an animated sweeping improvisation imbued a sense of mounting tension. Part social documentary and part eulogy for architectural visionaries, LONG SORROW is a freestyle fugue on feelings and beliefs.

Gabriel Orozco + Scarpa

Sombra entre los aros de aire, 2003.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Silke Schatz + Haesler

Pencil and colourpencil on paper
240 x 290 cm

"Celle, Siedlung Georgsgarten Block I and Wall Mural"
After Otto Haesler 1927
Leadpencil and Colorpencil on Paper
2 parts;
230 x 165 cm,
230 x 82.5 cm

Text taken from the Saatchi gallery.

Silke Schatz’s sculptures and drawings reflect her interest in architecture as both public and private space. A large portion of work in this collection revolves around an investigative description of her home town of Celle, Germany. Borrowing her aesthetics from Neues Bauen architect Otto Haesler, who was working in Celle in the 1930s, these works combine the bold colours and futuristic design of that period, as well as their associations with civic progress and optimism. In pieces such as Mothership, Schatz’s concentric orb is suspended as a mobile, its varying layers suggesting a balanced microcosm or engineering model. Finished on the exterior with the buoyant shades of 20th century idealism, the calculated façade conceals layers of images and text belying its authoritarian construction.

Drawing parallels between the social function of architecture and its impact on the individuals engaged with it, pieces such as Wurzelkind feature structural design as backdrop to Schatz’s own family biography. Her grandfather was an SS officer charged with war crimes; he committed suicide in the 1960s, leaving many questions unanswered. This piece features effigies of her grandparents, posed in front of a mural of Thears Gardenhouse, the officers’ barracks where they lived in 1942. The lamp was taken from this building, no longer in use. Schatz’s installation is both homage and spectacle: a haunting stage play confronting horror, reconciliation, and discomfort of identity.

Schatz’s drawings merge this inbetweeness of imposed structure and intimate negotiation. Based on Haesler’s own sketches, Elephantenhaus and Celle, Siedlung Georgsgarten appear as both architectural blueprint and ephemeral fantasy. Altering the original subjects to reflect her own sense of invention, Schatz’s drawings illustrate concrete space as a malleable construct, both directing and being informed by the viewer’s own memories and experiences

Korpys/Löffler + Ungers

Text taken by the Meyer Riegger web-site.

15.01.1999 - 13.02.1999


The exhibition that Korpys/Löffler conceived for our gallery is a further development of their earlier work “Der Sandhaufen” (the sand hill) exhibited at the ZKM Karlsruhe in 1996. In the installation, the two artists examine the attempted bomb attack on the Chief Federal Prosecution Office by the RAF in Karlsruhe in 1977. The new project deals with the consequences of the attack on the new construction of the office by Oswald Matthias Ungers. The focus of the exhibition is the observation of the high-security wing. By researching the secret place, Korpys/Löffler try to transmit its design principles onto a model room. The furniture of the model room is brought more and more into line with the design principles of the examined object throughout the “empirical” research, respectively; its systems, order, security and logic are assimilated and developed further.

By taking over the forms of the observed place in the own model room, most of all of the square, which appears as the main determining design principle used by Unger, Korpys/Löffler try to reach an identification with the architect in order to access his secret. The change of the furniture is documented, but destroyed later. The new findings about the construction of the secret place will be published in the exhibition in our gallery.

Pia Greschner + Piano

Kansai Cosmic Delay, 1999
DVD, PAL, 3 x 6 Min.

Gerard Byrne + Rietveld

"1984 and Beyond", 3 channel dvd projection, 20 photographic prints.

The project 1984 and Beyond (2005) features a discussion between twelve science-fiction writers that originally took place in 1963. Filmed in the Netherlands in the Kröller-Müller Museum at the Sonsbeek Pavilion (Rietveldt, 1965) and in 's-Hertogenbosch at the Provinciehuis (Maaskant, 1959 -1971), 1984 gathers such characters as Arthur C. Clarke and Rod Serling, who occupy these quasi-Brutalist settings to ponder Life on Mars, artificial intelligence, and over-population. A conflation of scientific fact and extraordinary speculation, as Emily Pethick remarks, 1984 and Beyond is by no means a simple reconstruction of a document, but a collection of multiple narratives and parallel histories that lead tangentially outwards, forming connections between three time periods, 1963, 1984, and 2005.

Gerard Byrne filming in the Goulding Summer House

"New Sexual Lifestyles", 54 min, 2003.
An article from Frieze, here.
And a gallery of images of the setting of the movie.

Markus Schinwald + Domenig

"Ten in Love", 2006. 4 min 37 sec. 2006

After the production of dictio pii, A Childrens Crusade and 1st part conditional, this is the fourth video project that Neue Sentimental Film has produced for the artist Markus Schinwald. The set was in the cafeteria created by Günther Domenig in the cloister school Eggenberg in Graz. The film will be shown from April 9th in the CaC Brétigny.

Warren Neidich "Palast der Republik"

Palast der Republik, series of photographs, Type-C prints, 100x140cm, 2007.
More info on the artist, here.

Cezary Bodzianowski + Eiffel (among other stuff)

"4 x Paris", 2004

The video recording of the series of four events by Cezary Bodzianowski which took place in Paris in 2004 is entitled simply and deceptively 4 x Paris. The title is borrowed from the blockbuster exhibition that took place at the Zachêta Gallery in Warsaw in the 1980s. The show reinforced the belief in the cultural supremacy of Paris in the twentieth century, still popular in Poland today. The events filmed as parts of the piece include the artist asking tourists by the Eiffel tower to take a picture of himself with a toy camera, the artist asking different passers-by on the bank of River Seine for the hour and accordingly drawing the clock on his forearm, and two other actions devised according to the rules that were as strict as they were enigmatic. Bodzianowski’s work usually has a precise and concise structure. It delves into various daily situations. These realities are diverted from their course by means of sly and sparse changes inscribed by the artist in their routine scripts.

Dorit Margreiter on the Hansaviertel

"Exquisite function"
More info here.

Dorit Margreiter + Koenig

Case Study House #22
More info here.

Dorit Margreiter + Lautner

"10104 Angelo View Drive"
More info here.

Carsten Höller on Suuronen's "Futuro"

Skop, 1996.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Bernardo Bellotto

This is Dresden. There are plenty more here. Vedutisti veneziani!

Lucia Moholy-Nagy on the Gropius house at Dessau

Besides being an innovator of photographic language, Lucia Monoly-Nagy established the canons of the visual language of modern architecture photography. These are the images of the house, shot in 1926, where the Moholy-Nagy lived while teaching at the Bauhaus. More information about the house, here.