Sunday, 2 July 2017

Karina Nimmerfall and Morgan Fishe + Neutra and Alexander

In its ninth iteration, the MAK Center’s Garage Exchange Vienna-Los Angeles exhibition series brought together former artist-in-residence Karina Nimmerfall and Los Angeles-based artist Morgan Fisher. Looking back at housing and urban planning in the U.S., the two artists revisited two historical moments: the dreams of home ownership via mass-produced, modular houses like those of architect, engineer, and city planner Howard T. Fisher and his company General Houses, Inc. in the 1930s; and, two decades later, the losing battle for a community-based modernism in the form of social housing, represented by the abandoned master plan for Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander’s Elysian Park Heights housing project in Chavez Ravine.

With the installation 1953. Possible Scenarios of a Discontinued Future, Nimmerfall created a multi-layered investigation into an unrealized social vision for a new modernist utopia—conceived of as a city within a city for a working class population of 17,000—on the site of the displaced communities of La Loma, Palo Verde, and Bishop. Intended as a prototype for future low-cost housing, the controversial project was met with a highly publicized attack on public housing, where anti-socialist polemic, private developers, real estate lobbyists, and the media all came together not only to dominate public opinion, but also to affect the housing debate on a national level. After years of detailed preparation, the visionary plan for Elysian Park Heights was scrapped in 1953, and replaced by plans for Dodger Stadium, and private enterprise in general. The story of this housing project exemplifies the end, as well as the beginning, of a new era. After World War II, the socially concerned modernism of the left emerged from its own battles with a new corporate aesthetic and a much more ambivalent ideology, giving way to neo-liberal urban development practices.

Beginning with present day footage filmed on location at the former site of Neutra’s progressive, yet later razed, Channel Heights housing project (San Pedro, 1942), Nimmerfall’s short film traced history forward to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Elysian Park, and Dodger Stadium, as well as to Neutra’s own house in Silver Lake, “projecting” the various built architectures into the site once designated for Elysian Park Heights. Inserted into an architectural installation based on abstract fragments of Neutra’s design, the film was accompanied by a fictional narrative with a script assembled from historic quotes taken from a variety of archival sources. Put into dialogue with one another, the quotes formulated a lively discussion, bringing to life the opposing ideas and heated atmosphere at that specific time. Through this overlap of text, film, and installation, Nimmerfall created a portrait of an actual, yet imaginary, space that offered a range of visions relating to the city’s geographic and cultural past, present, and future.

In conversation with Nimmerfall’s installation, Morgan Fisher’s painting 4 (Silver Gray, Sky Blue, Terra Cotta, Red) displayed an enlarged facsimile of a paint chip showing color combinations from the booklet Exterior and Interior Color Beauty, a publication produced around 1935 by General Houses, Inc. Founded in 1932 by the artist’s father, General Houses aimed to design, sell, distribute, and erect low-cost, high-quality prefabricated homes, in an attempt to reinvent the American homebuilding industry. Howard T. Fisher’s idea was to create a system that made it possible to build houses the way General Motors built cars, setting up a business model where production was substituted by coordination and management; different components were made by different companies and assembled on site, a process intended to make houses affordable for everyone. Although General Houses did not succeed in the mass market, it nevertheless represents one of the first attempts in the U.S. to make modern, industrialized houses available to all.

A color consultant was employed to choose the colors found in Exterior and Interior Color Beauty, in order to create combinations that were considered pleasing, and which would harmonize and coordinate with each other. The combinations formulate a sequence that the booklet calls a “color-flow” for an entire house, rationalizing relationships amongst colors in the realm of the decorative. At the root of such rationalization was the imperative to limit choice, to simplify, and to streamline. With Morgan Fisher’s discovery of the booklet and the actual paint chips, along with his strategic desire to make work that escapes the pitfalls of composition, he created a visual reverberation emanating from industrial production’s intricate and complicated history of standardization.

About the artists

Los Angeles-based artist Morgan Fisher achieved widespread recognition in the early 1970s for his experimental films that deconstructed the language of cinema both as physical material and as a set of production methods and technical procedures. Since the late 1990s, Fisher has focused his attention on the problems and possibilities of painting, by questioning and reframing the subtle conventions of the medium with an equally rigorous self-reflexivity. Recent solo exhibitions were held at the Generali Foundation, Vienna; Aspen Art Museum (2012); Raven Row, London; Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach (2011); and Portikus, Frankfurt/Main (2009).

Karina Nimmerfall is a Berlin-based, Austrian artist whose projects engage questions of architecture, space, and urban structures, as well as their conditions within cultural systems of representation and various concepts surrounding the construction of reality, memory, and history. Nimmerfall’s work has been presented at Kunstpavillon, Innsbruck (2015); Kunsthaus Graz (2012); Las Cienegas Projects, Los Angeles (2011); BAWAG Contemporary, Wien; Kasseler Kunstverein (2009); Göteborgs Konsthall and Galerie Stadtpark, Krems; (2008); Bucharest Biennale 3 (2008), and the 8th Havana Biennale (2003).

Yto Barrada + Ecochard

Mathieu Pernot "Le Meilleur des Mondes"

Le Meilleur des Mondes, 2006. Collection of 60 postcards reproductions

« Le meilleur des mondes » est une collection de 60 cartes postales éditées entre les années 1950 et 1980 reproduites et agrandies par l’auteur. Elles nous montrent des villes de banlieue française considérées, à cette époque, comme des symboles de modernité et de progrès. Réalisées pour la plupart d'entre elles en noir et blanc lors de la prise de vue, les images étaient colorisées de façon artificielle en imprimerie. Les couleurs, peu crédibles et souvent disposées de façon maladroite, témoignent d'une représentation fantasmée et utopique de ces lieux.

Narelle Jubelin + Seidler

BOX 1999 Rose Seidler House, Turramurra, NSW, architect Harry Seidler, 1951 cotton thread on cotton mesh petit point rendition, photo by Anna McMahon

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Carmen Argote + Schindler

A Vast Furniture: Part One-MAK Center at the Schindler House

About the Piece

I came to the Schindler House first as a visitor, walking the perimeter of the house as it exists now, a historic architectural space. Through subsequent visits I came to know the space and proposed a project that would involve a sculptural tracing of the walking perimeter at a 1:1 scale. I wanted to use untreated and freshly sanded redwood lumber to contrast the redwood in the house. The work is meant to be a conversation through material and time. The work would need two sites, one being in a desert, as a way to explore that which has been “compromised” by the first site. I wanted to give the Schindler house a horizon again, bringing forward the revolutionary ideas that helped shape the house. The conceiving of this project brought the MAK center for Art and Architecture and the High Desert Test Sites together.

Several things resonated with me as I continued to visit the Schindler House over several months . The first was a photograph of the house after it was built in 1922 within a vast landscape. Second was the idea of the house being conceived while on a camping trip to Yosemite. I became very interested in the shape being influenced by that relationship to landscape. The patios and the way they were used as dining room and living room while the site was a residence expanded my notion of the plan in terms of shelter. The idea of comfort was being challenged through Schindler’s architecture, isolation from the exterior, conventionally equated with comfort, was completely being questioned. Lastly, a quote made by a member of the Friends of the Schindler House about how the site had been compromised. The quote was a proposal that instead of trying to preserve in situ the now deteriorating building ( in the 1970’s), that they should allow it to be demolished, sell the valuable land for a hefty sum, and rebuild the house elsewhere on less pricy real estate.

My personal connection to the house developed through the making of the to-scale cardboard template for the work. After spending a day and a half on the floor, on my knees, fitting the pattern, I felt the house shift. It felt vast and spacious and very tactile. I had been touching its floors for hours and the space somehow felt familiar and known and that brought a new understanding of it. I no longer felt like a visitor after that.

I collaborated with curators Anthony Carfello, Adam Peña, and Aurora Tang to develop events that would allow for different experiences and interactions with the artwork. I wanted to work within Schindler’s architecture and use it as a framework to expand from. These events are extensions of the artwork. The programing helps to connect the two sites and through the connection, to explode the site into a larger conversation about the development of housing and land ownership and notions of the frontier throughout different points in time.

Material: Redwood Lumber, two sites

Jonathas de Andrade "Projeto de abertura de uma casa, como convém"

Projeto de abertura de uma casa, como convém. 2009

model board, 70x80cm
and 11 photographs, 20cm height, variable widths

A destroyed model board of a house from the modernist tropical modernist repertoire is linked to photographs that record the looting and destruction of this home.

The work suggests destruction as a project in the context of real estate hyper-speculation in Latin America.

Jonathas de Andrade "Nostalgia, sentimento de classe"

Nostalgia, sentimento de classe. 2012
345 peças de fibra de vidro, fotografia tamanho 60x84cm, e texto em vinil adesivo.

The project takes the wall panel of a tropical modern house as a departure point. The house, an exemplar of modern architecture in northeastern Brazil, was built in Recife in the 1960’s and was in the final moments of being sold to real estate developers at the time this project was made.

The house is one of the few remaining of its kind – its openness to the street renders it vulnerable in a way that is unthinkable in the current city’s security-obsessed time. It is in fact two homes in one, the symmetrical structure conjoins two families and seamlessly connects public and private life. These ideals embodied by the house seem to resound with the social and political concerns of modernism, whose formal elements accommodated ideologies about communal living and local aesthetics.

The original ceramic tiles are transformed into fiberglass pieces of the same size (15x15cm) but adding to them a new dimension – a volume of 10cm – becoming a hyper-reproduction of the original.

Is nostalgia a sentiment only possessed and consumed by the upper-class?

A large installation text comprised of the writings of Brazilian architect Marcous Vasconcellos and architect/artist Flavio de Carvalho is fully charged with the utopian ideals of their time, characterized with resolute political stances that are uncommon in today’s writing on architecture.

The panel of tiles is partially reproduced and its tiles gradually obstruct keywords of Vaconcellos’s and Carvalho’s texts about architecture, mankind and civilization. As a consequence, both the text and the original building are emptied of meaning and specificities, thus becoming ruins, mimicking and speeding up the natural process of history.

Christodoulos Panayiotou + Barragán

Mármol rosa, 2017

Edgardo Aragón + Barragán

To Ride a Horse, To Be a Horse, 2016

Iosu Aramburu "Plan Piloto de Lima"

PDF of catalogue.

Iosu Aramburu + Sert and Gropius

Arrival of Sert, Gropius and their wives to Lima; they are welcomed at the airport by architects Velarde, Linder, Marquina and Belaunde; 1954
Part of the group show Muestra Colectiva /// Nuevos proyectos, in 80M2-Livia Benavides, Lima from November 2016 to January 2017.

Grier Edmunson + Tatlin

The Work Ahead of Us
exhibition view
Battat Contemporary, 2009

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Cheryl Sim + Fuller

Un jour, One Day, 2017 Film still. Courtesy of the artist © Cheryl Sim

Bas Princen + Breuer

Gallery Entrance, The Met (Marcel Breuer, Former Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1963–66), installation view, 2017. 2016. C-print. (Courtesy of the artist)

Nicole Wermers + Breuer

Infrastruktur 2015

Untitled Chair - AL-0        
Vintage fur, steel tubing, upholstery, silk and velvet
85 x 65 x 60 cm / 33.4 x 25.5 x 23.6 in

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Peles Empire "Sculpture"

2017, Skulptur Projekte 2017
Dibond, ceramic tiles, galvanized steel, Jesmonite
755 × 622 × 638 cm
Car park of Oberverwaltungsgericht,
corner of Aegidiistrasse / Aegidiikirchplatz,
48143 Münster

Christian Odzuck + HPP Heinrich-Petschnigg & Partner.


2017, Skulptur Projekte 2017
Concrete, steel, wood, spolia

2300 × 1600 × 3600 cm
Andreas-Hofer-Straße 50
48145 Münster

Heinz Emigholz + Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier [IIIII] Asger Jorn [Relief]
Germany / Denmark 2015, 29 min

Le Corbusier [IIIII] Asger Jorn [Relief] contrasts the Villa Savoye, built by Le Corbusier in 1931, and Asger Jorn’s Grand Relief, which the Danish painter and sculptor produced in 1959 for the Århus Statsgymnasium. The film makes connections between what, according to the ideological stipulations of their creators, does not belong together.

“The film came about because I was intrigued by the premise of comparing two buildings that at first seem to have nothing to do with one another. A dialogue between thoroughly stylized clarity and declared wildness, both with ideologically trimmings. It was only by working on the film that I learned to appreciate the two works that had once left me indifferent: the delight of their creators in the productively implemented statement.”
Heinz Emigholz

Michel Aubry + Melnikov

Mise en musique du Pavillon de l’URSS de Melnikov 1925, 2013 Canne de Sardaigne, bois
© André Morin Courtesy de l’artiste et Galerie Eva Meyer

Michel Aubry, Mise en musique du kiosque de Melnikov, 1925-2009 Bois peint, tapis afghans Courtesy of the artist & Galerie Eva Meyer, Paris

James Angus + Costa and Niemeyer

Rio Phase Shift 2003, birch, mahogany, basswood, plywood, MDF

James Angus + Mies van der Rohe

Seagram Building 2000, spruce, MDF, Plexiglas

Rainer Oldendorf + CIAM 4

marco14 and CIAM4 / Shipwreck with Spectator, 2017, installation view, Polytechnion, Athens, documenta 14, photo: Angelos Giotopoulos

Dora Budor + archigram

The Forecast (New York Situation)

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Clara Ianni + Costa and Niemeyer

Free Form
video installation
In 1959 Brazil´s capital city, Brasília, was being constructed, designed to be the symbol of modernization and development of the country. Despite its utopian horizons, a massacre happened during the construction of the city, in which the State police killed more than 100 workers after a strike. The video is composed by interviews made with Lucio Costa (the city’s urban planner) and Oscar Niemeyer (the city’s architect), in which both denied the acknowledgement of the massacre, and photos from the construction site, commission by the State, made by Marcel Gautherot. The video reflects on the conflict between institutionalized historical discourses and counter narratives, questioning (infra)structures of power such as History itself, architecture and aesthetic.
MOMA - NY Collection