Monday 18 September 2023

Rachel Rose + Johnson

Rachel Rose, A Minute Ago, 2014.

Catherine Opie + Lautner


Catherine Opie, The Modernist, 2017.

"The Modernist presents a dystopic view of Los Angeles, a city that has figured prominently in Opie’s work over the years. The film is in conversation with Chris Marker’s radical 1962 photo-roman, La Jetée, which utilizes still photography to tell a story of longing, time travel, and the terror of nuclear apocalypse. Opie’s film continues this dialogue, employing similar formal and narrative structures to a different end. Focusing on contemporary issues like natural disasters, the breakdown of the American political system, global tragedies, and the Los Angeles housing crisis, the film stars Stosh, a.k.a. Pig Pen, a close friend of Opie’s who has appeared in many of her photographs, as a struggling artist who is obsessed with landmark midcentury modern architecture.

Composed of over 800 black and white still images, the 22 minute film unfolds with swift pacing. Each still captures the subject and his world from multiple angles and vantage points, creating a lyrical cinematic effect. Throughout the film, the protagonist clips newspaper headlines and product advertisements and assembles them together to construct an elaborate collage that echoes his psychological state. The multilayered collage illustrates his frustrations and desires and provides a visible catalyst for the destruction that is to come. Over the course of the film his inability to obtain these desires and dreams drives him to commit acts of arson, methodically setting fire to iconic buildings throughout the city. Yet the film’s oneiric quality forces the viewer to question whether what transpires is an act of destruction or a dream.

Paul Thek + Tatlin


Paul Thek, Uncle Tom’s Cabin with Tower of Babel, 1976."

A two-storey version Tatlin's Monument houses a sculpture of a wooden shack (the eponymous Uncle Tom's Cabin), inside of which is a bathtub, a globe, and a stuffed red bird. But as the title indicates, the reference is as much to The Tower of Babel (1679), an etching by Conraet Decker that appears as an illustration in Athanasius Kircher’s Turris Babel. Since Thek’s work is often concerned with the spiritual, this aggregate reference seems to be in keeping with other religious structures deployed in his installations (such as the pyramid, ark, and tomb), where it equally appears atop a bed of rippled sand punctuated with candles."

Installation views above from ICA Philadelphia, 1977.

Alvaro Urbano + Gray


Alvaro Urbano, “L’Invitation au voyage”, Travesía Cuatro, Madrid 2019.

Lucia Koch + Bo Bardi


Lucia Koch, Casa de Vento, 2019.

"Intervention with printed fabrics on the façade of Lina Bo Bardi’s Casa de Vidro, at the invitation of the Lina Bo and Pietro Maria Bardi Institute. The project transformed the view of the house – architectural object covered by the intervention – and also affected the experience in the interior space, with its atmosphere transformed by the fabric filters. Exposed to sun and rain, the curtains moved with the wind and at each moment responded with different effects."

Guillermo Pérez Villalta + Neutra


Guillermo Pérez Villalta, Neutra confort (Invención n.° 46), 1999.

Nairy Baghramian + Mollino

Irina Lotarevich + Le Corbusier


Irina Lotarevich, Modern Anxiety, 2023

"The Sichtlagerkasten is a semi-open front storage container that can be stacked to provide maximum efficiency and easy accessibility when organising contents of various kinds. Sicht is the German word for sight, visibility, a prospect. Lager the word for store, stock, but also the camp. A Kasten is a box, though it is also a showcase. As an elemental form that gives shape to a number of works in the exhibition, the proliferating Sichtlagerkästen demonstrate the ways in which processes of configuration and constellation can generate difference through repetition. As a conceptual container, however, the Sichtlagerkasten performs less as binary code than as social encryption. Condensed into its relatively simple form are multiple metaphors and interpretative possibilities: for the body, the mind, a social body, and the interactions facilitated or precluded between all of these.


The standardness of the Sichtlagerkasten, as it is employed by Irina Lotarevich to compose her works’ different forms, engenders a modular system. With this, Lotarevich re-en-genders the architectural monolith that is Le Corbusier’s Unité d’habitation, designed according to an anthropomorphic scale of proportions known as the Modulor. Originally based on the average French man’s height at the time (1.75cm), the Modulor grew to 1.83cm in 1946: the six-foot stature embodied by English detectives in novels. This masculine ideal is troubled by the work’s title – Housing Anxiety 7  which stirs the purely rational individual to consider more carefully the precarity of housing and the housing of instability. Or, to put it another way: to really feel the shortcomings of a standard universal. Or in other words entirely: to inhabit the space of the Modular Woman.


The Modular Woman would be neither a prescriptive nor a descriptive argument about any particular notion of the woman but perhaps only a transitory self-portrait in an array of different metals, using different techniques, referring to different situations and modes of self-regard. Lotarevich draws from aspects of her working life to create works that reflect the conditions of their production. For Overtime and Pedagogy, for example, she collects shavings from the bandsaw in the university metal workshop where she works, presenting them in frames assembled on a curved mount, where each individual frame accounts for a week of teaching. When filed together, the frames materialise time, accumulating into something more than just debris: an archive of multiple dimensions, depending on one’s viewpoint. Steel Price Index reproduces the table of contents in the Posamentir catalogue on a piece of steel the length of the artist’s height. In this tumultuous geopolitical moment, the indexical work that this proxy catalogue can perform becomes contingent upon the artist’s relative position in time and space, as she acquires her materials in a highly volatile market.


The relativity of the artist’s position is parsed across the works in the exhibition through shifts in scale and perspective. The large-scale sculptural installation Modular Body (container ship cross-section) is still a miniaturised, cropped representation of the container ship. Its containers are also Sichtlagerkästen, stacked with reference to the precise calculations with which actual container ships are organised in order to maximise the potential cargo. Meanwhile, The social box, complex, constructed, hardware and software, often closed, sometimes open, constant and variable fixes the Sichtlagerkasten form into an oblique, two-dimensional image, cast as flat, silver charms. The chains connecting these to a central ring are variable lengths and adaptable to different situations, like a site-responsive schematic drawing. The title is taken from Michel Serres’ 2008 book, The Five Senses, a work of active striving against the Cartesian dualism that makes universal standards like the Modulor so seductive for their seeming viability across different applications, from science and technology, to architecture, to sociology and psychology, and beyond.


All the while, a particular figure within the exhibition, also reproduced mechanically by way of casting, challenges the anthropocentric viewpoint from which scalability and organisation becomes a solely human concern. The small, tin- and silver-cast pigeons perched on Housing Anxiety 7 and the smaller wall sculpture Unit respectively introduce to the exhibition the fact of cohabitation in matters of life, living and the production of space. Lotarevich refers to the pigeon figures as though they were semiotic devices, included here to strengthen the allusion to a residential situation. Moreover, as creatures renowned for their homing abilities, their innate sense of orientation and their resilience, pigeons interpolate human environments to act as reminders of their permeability and sympoietic latencies. Not unlike the Modular Woman, the pigeon overflows the contained unit, inhabiting the interstices and making connections between diverse spaces and contexts, thus turning islands into archipelagos and units into dwellings."

Oscar Abraham Pabón + Mies van der Rohe


Oscar Abraham Pabón, Psicoarquitectura, Barcelona 2023.

Thursday 17 February 2022

Christopher Williams + Niemeyer

Christopher Williams
Super Quadra Sul 308 - Bloco 'D' - Asa Sul (south wing) - 70.355 - BRASILIA-DF - Lucio Costa, Oscar Niemeyer, 1960 - January 31, 1997 (No.1 - 2)

Tuesday 3 August 2021

Cayetano Ferrer + Pereira


Wednesday 14 July 2021

Marcius Galan + Bo Bardi


Marcius Galan, ‘Coluna (para Lina)’, 2021, acervo @masp, doação do artista, 2021.

Saturday 24 October 2020

Shannon Bool + Le Corbusier

Shannon Bool, Oued Ouchaia, 2018. Jacquard tapestry, embroidery, 209 x 325 cm. 

Shannon Bool + Loos


Shannon Bool, Villa Muller Sampler, 2019, silkscreen, cotton embroidery on hand dyed silk. Courtesy of Daniel Faria Gallery, Toronto, and Gallery Kadel Willborn, Düsseldorf

Shannon Bool + Mies van der Rohe

Shannon Bool, The Weather, 2018, jacquard tapestry, embroidery. Courtesy of Daniel Faria Gallery, Toronto, and Gallery Kadel Willborn, Düsseldorf

Dennis Adams + Mies van der Rohe

Freeload. Dennis Adams

Freeload is an installation created exclusively for the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of its construction. Dennis Adams has produced a portable replica of one of the eight mirrored cruciform columns that support the Pavilion. By installing a miniature video camera in each of its ends, the artist has transformed the column into a bidirectional camera designed to record forward and rear shots of a procession through La Mina, a social housing project on the outskirts of Barcelona. The route of the procession was determined by the Plataforma d’Entitats i Veïns de La Mina, a group of community representatives, and the column was carried on the shoulders of two members from the Club de Lluita Olímpica La Mina; the local wrestling club. The procession began at the boundary between the Forum and La Mina and continued through the neighbourhood, terminating at the Rambla Camarón, the symbolic center of the community. Returned to the Pavilion and installed in front of the small pool under the silent watch of Georg Kolbe’s sculpture, the column/camera is supported horizontally on two video monitors that display the recorded footage of its journey.

Adams selected La Mina for its location within Sant Adrià de Besòs, the town where the workers lived that constructed the International Exposition of 1929, including Mies’ original Pavilion. For the artist, both the Pavilion and La Mina are architectural icons that bracket the history of Modernism, framing both its utopian promise and social reality.

Since the late 1970s, Dennis Adams’ works have framed Blindzones, within public space and architecture. In relation to Freeload, Adams explains, “By exempting Mies’ column from its function as a vertical support, I envisioned the release of all that compression as a kind of extension. Turned horizontally, it becomes a sight line free to probe the physical and symbolic limits of the Pavilion.”


Isaac Julien + Bo Bardi

A Marvellous Entanglement (2019)

 The multiple screen installation and photographic series A Marvellous Entanglement (2019) traverses a collection of Lina Bo Bardi’s most iconic buildings, offering a meditation on the work and legacy of the visionary modernist architect and designer (1914–1992).

‘Linear time is a western invention; time is not linear, it is a marvellous entanglement where, at any moment, points can be chosen and solutions invented, without beginning or end.’ – Lina Bo Bardi

Focusing on Bo Bardi’s public projects instead of private edifices, the piece emphasizes her social, political and cultural views, alongside her philosophical reflections formulated in articles and letters, such as the passage above, which is central to the film.

 Having filmed on location in São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP), Sesc Pompeia and in the Teatro Oficina, Julien proposes an open-ended reflection on Bo Bardi’s ideas. These three buildings, widely regarded as landmarks of Brazilian modernism, stand as representative of her ground-breaking vision. Travelling further north, the work also encounters Bo Bardi’s buildings in Salvador: the Museum of Modern Art; the Coaty Restaurant and the Gregório de Mattos theatre. Starring Academy Award-nominee Fernanda Montenegro and her daughter, Cannes-laureate actor Fernanda Torres, A Marvellous Entanglement portrays Bo Bardi at different stages of her life, as the actresses interpret excerpts from the architect’s writings.

A central figure of Latin American modernist architecture, Bo Bardi devoted her working life to promoting the social and cultural potential of art, architecture and design. Exploring these themes, A Marvellous Entanglement uses the iconic staircase that she designed for the Museum of Modern Art, Bahia, as the stage upon which Julien orchestrates an original work by choreographer Zebrinha, performed by the Balé Folclórico de Bahia. The Coaty, a modern ruin perched on the Ladeira de Misericórdia in Salvador, accommodates in turn a series of performances by Brazilian art collective Araká. In close collaboration with Julien, the collective performs in situ happenings reflecting upon the significance of Bo Bardi’s seldom-accessed masterpiece for a young contemporary audience. Another leading name of Brazilian arts, the actor, director, playwright and co-founder of São Paulo’s Teatro Oficina, José Celso Martinez Corrêa (AKA Zé Celso) worked in close collaboration with Bo Bardi and is also a key presence in the film, which includes score created by the German-Spanish composer Maria de Alvear.Following the conceptual thread which Julien established in his earlier artistic investigations around portrait-making such as Ten Thousand Waves (2010), or the more recent Lessons of the Hour: Frederick Douglass (2019), Lina Bo Bardi – A Marvellous Entanglement looks at historical reparation through visual poetry, moved by the breadth and power of Bo Bardi’s work, and a profound belief that her legacy has yet to be fully acknowledged.