Tuesday, 22 June 2010
Scenario 2 In 1928 American investors support a proposal by Mies van der Rohe. By 1932, five of the planned eleven buildings are finished. During the war, large parts of the square are destroyed by air raids. After 1945, the East German Senate decides to restore two relatively undamaged Mies van der Rohe buildings. In the 60s these are integrated into the restructuring of the square. After the reunification, Daniel Libeskind wins first prize just ahead of Kollhoff. Between 1995 and 1999, the first building is realized - the Euroforum - which resembles Mies van der Rohe's famous 1921 proposal for Friedrichstrasse. The buildings function to provide offices for European organisations next to the town hall meets with some resistance from the public. Up to the present, only the Berliner Touristik GmbH have moved in. Further realization of the plan is uncertain, as the need for office space has slackened and there is incresing demand for pre WW1 style (Gründerzeit) architecture.
Monday, 21 June 2010
Two Variations on the History of Alexanderplatz.
Having won the 1928 competition, the Luckhardt Brothers with Alfons Anker were comisioned to realize their design. Through generous investment by American backers, the building is finished in 1932. Because of its unified, modern and dynamic form, Alexanderplatz achieves worldwide fame. During the war, heavy bombing destroys the east and north sides of the square. After 1945, a reconstruction of the square is considered, though the infrastructure had revealed itself as being too small already in the 30s. Consequently, only the two southern buildings are restored. In 1953 Ulbrich demands the adoption of the "National Traditions" style. Henselmann, though only a few weeks earlier an ardent Modernist, responds as head of a working collective with a proposal for Stalin-Allee and Alexanderplatz. There is an urgent need for representational government buildings, so work on Alexanderplatz is started immediately and finished within two years. The central commitee of the SED move into the middle building at the north end of the square which is now set aside for parades and rallys. Upheavals in the USSR and the consequent set backs prevent Stalin-Allee being built in a similar style; therefore the planners resort to a cheaper Plattenbau (prefabricated units) method. After the reunification, Alexanderplatz is accused of being Stalinist and eclectic, however with the emerging interest in historicising town planning, the square is listed.
Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Monday, 14 June 2010
Christopher Wood's "Zebra and Parachute", 1930.
By the late 1920s, Christopher Wood was part of the Parisian avant-garde and had become fairly responsive to the prevailing currents of vanguard art. Painted shortly before his death, Zebra and Parachute is an important and intriguing picture. The faintly surrealist juxtaposition of International Style architecture, zebra and parachutist was a departure from the primitivist subject matter and naïve style that he had pursued hitherto and perhaps indicates the path he would have taken had he lived.
Sleeper at the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 2004-2005, DVD
An article by Christy Lange http://www.tate.org.uk/tateetc/issue9/captiveaudience.htm
Assemblée n°1 / Chandigarh Replay / C-print sur diasec 160 x 110 cm / 100 x 131 cm / 2007
Chandigarh Haute cour de justice / Chandigarh Replay / C-print sur diasec, 180 x 198 cm / 2007
British artist Roger Hiorns uses unusual materials to effect surprising transformations on found objects and urban situations. Fire emerges from storm drains, perfume permeates metal surfaces, and copper sulphate crystals colonise industrial objects.
SEIZURE was Hiorns’ most ambitious work to date and his first major sculptural project within an urban site, and it marked a radical shift in scale and context in his work. The artist encouraged the growth of an unexpected crystal form within a low-rise late-modernist development near the Elephant & Castle in south London.
75,000 litres of copper sulphate solution were pumped into the council flat to create a strangely beautiful and somewhat menacing crystalline growth on the walls, floor, ceiling and bath of this abandoned dwelling.
After the project opened, 151 - 189 Harper Rd became a site of pilgrimage. Every day hundreds of people made their way across the capital to this anonymous council flat near the Elephant & Castle.SEIZURE was commissioned by Artangel and the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, in association with Channel 4. The work was selected through the Jerwood/Artangel Open, a new commissioning initiative for the arts, which was launched in the summer of 2006 in association with Channel 4 and Arts Council England.
Ricci Albenda, Garden, 2009, acrylic on multiple panels. Installation view, library of the Rachofsky House, Dallas.
HOW DOES A HOUSE SPEAK? Le Corbusier’s famous declaration that a house is “a machine for living” may preclude any notion that a house—particularly an exemplar of austere postmodernism, such as Richard Meier’s Rachofsky House in Dallas—could say anything in the way of messiness or chaos or incongruity and subjectivity. The Rachofsky House sits moored to the ground, a tightly composed network of right angles, white planes, and plate-glass squares and rectangles. But of course, true to Meier’s ideals, the structure is not blind to its surroundings; it drinks them in and exposes the inside to the outside. The impression that it is autonomous, that it could be airlifted out of its site, placed anywhere, and function as it does now, is an illusion. The same is true of Ricci Albenda’s paintings, many of which the artist created specifically for the house this past summer, in an exhibition titled “The Quick Brown Fox Jumps over the Lazy Dog.” It was the first time this venue, which usually features pieces from Howard and Cindy Rachofsky’s extensive contemporary collection, was given over to a single artist. Albenda used his works to create a dialogue with Meier’s building, and he instilled the normally reticent domicile with a myriad of utterances and articulations.
The pangram of the show’s title—employing every letter of the English alphabet—reflected Albenda’s rigorously inclusive aesthetic. In the kitchen, one saw a series of drawings following the artist’s meticulous recipe for ascribing a specific color to each letter of the alphabet, so that each letter aligns with the progression of the natural spectrum. Albenda named his formula COLOR-I-ME-TRY, and it assigns each vowel to either a primary or a secondary color, with the consonants falling accordingly onto other hues. But the system is not rigid; once in place, Albenda can adjust it to accommodate countless saturations and values.
Each room in the Rachofsky House hosted a series of paintings utilizing variations on the COLOR-I-ME-TRY formula. In the library, a cozy room on the second floor, a suite of horizontal canvases announced the names of plants that could be found on the grounds of the house or in Albenda’s own garden in Brooklyn. Latin classifications such as HELLEBORUS, YPSILANDRA THIBETICA, and SCILLA SCILLOIDES littered the walls, a word salad of tightly composed letters painted in pastels that complement the various background shades of green. The paintings are themselves a catalogue of the outside world, imported into the very room designated for the systematic storage of knowledge.
As in the library, Albenda’s paintings echoed the function of each room in the house. The bedroom contained various words on white backgrounds, the artist’s own pangram, giving rise to nonsensical neologisms such as ZWACK, VIFTH, and SQUOX. The letters are vibrant and rainbow-hued, and in some instances the serifs of the font appeared to bleed into one another, suggesting the kerning of letterpresses. The words looked and sounded as if they could be in English, but they are fabrications. This was a room for dreaming, after all, where the mind invents scenarios, images, and words that exceed the structures of everyday life.
In every room, Albenda’s paintings announced themselves clearly and forcefully. This was especially apparent in the large central living area, which opens onto two floors of the house and is visible from almost every peripheral room. Here Albenda hung his most aggressive paintings. Large white canvases made declarations such as YOU’RE GREEDY, AND YOU’RE SELFISH and NO REASON TO SAY NO. These paintings seemed to be blunt statements, meant to be apprehended quickly as literal messages or dialogue. But unlike Ed Ruscha or Lawrence Weiner, Albenda has painstakingly worked over his text according to the COLOR-I-ME-TRY system. The longer one stared at the paintings, the more the letters, which appeared at first to be inky black and monochromatic, gave way to muddied hues of purple, red, and green. Once these calibrations became obvious, the phrases in the paintings became freighted with additional signification. This, in essence, is the raison d’être of Albenda’s color system—to investigate the relationship between visual and linguistic modes of comprehension.
The Open Music Library - Project Unité, Firminy, re-contextualized - A Community Portrait, 1993.
Clegg & Guttmann have also referred to their interventions as ‘community portraits’. On the one hand this links back to their earlier staged portraits, but the term also weakens the sociological emphasis of their art. For their Project Unité in Firminy in France (1993) the two artists devised an audio library with recordings supplied by the residents of the eponymous Le Corbusier apartment block. In this case the ‘community portrait’ category took on a literal sense, with Clegg & Guttmann photographing people for the covers of the cassettes they had donated. A miniature version of the Modernist building served as a storage unit, as well as providing information on the predominant musical taste in any given apartment.
New Ark, DV, approx. 10 min. (2001)
François Boué (New York) has been producing short 8mm films on modern architecture for several years, often edited in-camera. New Ark (2001) is made up of a series of short pans and static shots that show the architecture of Mies van der Rohe's Seagram Building in New York and Colonnades Housing Complex in Newark. The compositions are reminiscent of Rodchenko, but they also evoke survey photography, due to the grainy film and the warts-and-all depiction of the architecture, shown slightly worn and clearly inhabited.
Roads are also places
Curator: Martí Peran
Modified Remote Controlled Truck (160 x 64 x 19 cm), The trailer has been substituted for a scale model of the Unité d'Habitation of Marseille (building designed by Le Corbussier in 1947).Video projection (DVD, 10' loop), 2005. Intervention in the interior of the Unité d'Habitation in Marseille, February 25, 2005. Video recording of the remote-control unit circulating freely in the corridors, elevators and roof of the Unité d'Habitation in Marseille.
Video: Laurent Malone
Video editing: Rafa Ruiz
Super-size block wardrobe-size house
Museu Nacional do Conjunto Cultural da Republica, Brasilia, Brazil. November 2007 Two prototypes measuring 220 x 80 x 65 cm each.
Wood, blankets and plastic objects A scaled down recreation of two buildings in the huge blocks of residential housing in Brasília, called “superquadras” or giant blocks of houses; designed by Lucio Costa. Made into prototypes of individual shelters for the “moradores da rua” or homeless. Project made for the exhibition Moradias Transitórias. Novos Espaços da Contemporanidade.
Organised by: Nicola Goretti
Sunday, 13 June 2010
Thursday, 10 June 2010
Photograph on panel, paint. Panel: 140 x 100 x 5 cm. Wall: 5.3 x 13.25metres
In this installation an enormous red wall supports a 100 x 140 cm black and white photograph. This photograph is a retake of Armando Salas Portugal's famous image of the roof patio of Luis Barragán's house in Mexico City. The artist commissioned architectural photographer Jorgedel Olmo to copy the Salas Portugal image.
In the photograph of El Muro Rojo, the viewer sees different tones of grey represent the trademark bright colours of Barragán's architecture. This is contrasted with the emotional impact of the enormous red wall which supports the photograph.
This can contribute to two distinct readings of Barragán's work: the experience of his work as pure plane and volume, as displayed in the black and white printed sources of his time, and on the other hand the intense spatial/optical experience of visiting his architecture and coming into contact with the brightly coloured planes. The two separate elements of El Muro Rojo effectively separate these retinal and physical encounters with Barragán's architecture. But at the same time they are recombined through the close juxtaposition of the black andwhite photograph and the huge red wall.
Video Projection. 4.20 minutes, looped
Digital Print in Light Box. 56 x 147 x 15 cm
The video is shot in a series of four slow pans, at ground level,giving the viewer a model-scale eye-level tour, and creating a formaland tonal study of the group. Each pan is separated by a warm red"wipe". 5 Notable Pavilions is a study of how architecture isrepresented through movement. It brings together several forms ofrepresentation: The film, the architectural maquette, and the pavilionitself. This video work is displayed with an adjacent back-lit print asa kind of "establishing shot" of the whole group (Photograph by RayAnastas, Camera: Rubén Guzman, Edit: Anita Chao).
Pared, Fotografía Digital, 90 x 120 cm, 2005
From the series: "Le Corbusier quemado en Bogotá", 2005
Durante los ‘40s y ‘50, Le Corbusier diseñó para la ciudad de Bogotá en Colombia, un enorme proyecto de ciudad moderna sobre la antigua ciudad ya establecida, que al final por diversos motivos no se construyó. Sin embargo concibió una ciudadela de 23 edificios, el Centro Nariño, desarrollada por arquitectos colombianos pero que llevaron inequívocamente el sello de su obra.
Parte de estos edificios, con uniforme mobiliario básico, fueron adjudicados a los estudiantes universitarios venidos de la provincia a la ciudad. Durante los ‘60s, y en medio de protestas políticas estudiantiles, algunos de estos edificios fueron quemados con el mobiliario dentro, quedando las sombras de éstos sobre sus paredes y algunos objetos en pie en medio de las cenizas.
Treinta años después, el paisaje quemado del interior de los apartamentos sigue intacto, como la sombra de sus muebles y agujeros en sus tomas eléctricas y de agua, evidenciando no sólo la violencia de la quema, sino además metaforizando sobre la violencia que persiste sobre Colombia y la infuncionalidad del sueño del pensamiento moderno sobre las ciudades latinoamericanas.