Thursday, 19 May 2016

Victor Burgin + Mies van der Rohe

Victor Burgin, Prairie, 2015

November 20, 2015 – January 29, 2016
Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, 5701 S. Woodlawn Ave.
Prairie is a new digital projection work by Victor Burgin, created as part of Overlay, a collaborative research project undertaken this year by Burgin and D. N. Rodowick with the support of the University of Chicago’s Gray Center For Arts and Inquiry. Overlay focused on the history of “The Mecca” apartment building, built in 1892 and demolished sixty years later as part of the expansion of the Illinois Institute of Design under the plan of Mies van der Rohe, whose Crown Hall now occupies its former site. As in Burgin's recent works, A Place to Read, focused on an Istanbul coffee house by Sedad Haki Eldem, and Mirror Lake, which turns around the Wisconsin “Seth Peterson Cottage” by Frank Lloyd Wright, Prairie responds to specific architectural sites (here, The Mecca and Crown Hall) and explores erased or disappeared cultural histories, real and/or imagined, inscribed in the built environment.
Presented as part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Blaise Drummond + Le Corbusier

Gewaltige Raume Unerschlossenen Landes
Oil & Collage on Canvas
162 x 213 cm

In Fields, Meadows, Fallows and Walls2006
Oil , Acrylic & Veneer on Canvas
127 x 167.5 cm

Blaise Drummond + Mies van der Rohe

Krefeld (The Spatially Apprehended Will of the Epoch)
Oil & Collage on Canvas
162 x 213 cm

Lewis Mumford Says (No_2)
Oil, Gloss & Ink on canvas
168 x 142 cm

 Lewis Mumford Says
Oil, Gloss & Ink on canvas
167 x 126 cm

Josephine Meckseper + Mies van der Rohe

Her works are placed throughout the museum on a subtle arc that begins in the outdoor gallery with two vitrines—inspired in part by Mies van der Rohe’s German Pavilion for the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona. The contents contained within—original sculpture and mass-produced objects—might be construed as fine art or consumer goods.

Sanja Iveković + Mies van der Rohe

Sanja Iveković, Monument to Revolution (After Mies), 2014. Proposal sketch.

Sanja Iveković has been conceiving and executing projects for the public sphere since the 1970s. A recurrent theme of her work involves the forms and context of official memory cultures. With her proposal to reconstruct Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s 1926 “Monument to the November Revolution” for Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht and the revolutionaries of the workers’ movement from today’s vantage point, Iveković challenges the dominant politics of remembrance and harks back to the monument’s heavily contested history, echoes of which could be heard long after the monument was destroyed in 1933.
Iveković’s project Monument to Revolution (After Mies) (2014) borrows its form and symbolic order from Mies van der Rohe’s monument but it privileges collaboration and participation, and aims to reflect these values through its process-based method of construction. “The idea is to think beyond the confines of nation-state and involve a large number of European and international anti-fascist, workers’ and leftist organisations, labor unions, women’s organisations, as well as all interested individuals in the process of gathering the building blocks for the piece” (Sanja Iveković).
The daadgalerie will present Iveković’s monument project within an exhibition of new works titled Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein! (I was, I am, I shall be!). Like much of her work, especially the pieces created for public spaces, her monument design functions on several levels; while it can be considered an architectural project, it also serves to catalyze a debate that goes far beyond local monument politics.
In line with the broader scope of this undertaking, the exhibition presents Iveković’s monument design alongside some of the reflections, research, and documents that continue to shape the project. Centered on the history of Mies van der Rohe’s destroyed monument, Iveković’s project uses the monument as a research object situated within the historical context of left-wing revolution. In order to shed light on this context, the exhibition is supplemented by a timeline tracing the history of Mies’s monument—throughout the shifting ideologies of and practices for the politics of memory, especially in light of Rosa Luxemburg as a disquieting Marxist thinker—and is juxtaposed by an extensive chronology of left-wing revolutionary movements and uprisings, as well as women’s suffrage, from 1910 to the present day. A new video installation (We will be victorious if we have not forgotten how to learn) created especially for the exhibition provides the images, sounds, and ideas for the timeline, with excerpted archival material documenting revolutionary movements and passages from Rosa Luxemburg’s “Letters from Prison.”
Iveković uses the original work as well as her own monument proposal as a vehicle to examine and shed light on latent conflicts and contradictions, including the desire for community and the need to resurrect a revolutionary memory, as implied in the series of drawings “Waiting for the revolution (till tomorrow)” (1992/2015).
The accompanying symposium “Memorial For(u)ms – Histories of Possibility” is to take place concurrently from July 3 to 4, 2015. It will examine what discursive or aesthetic forms are appropriate for an unrealized revolution, and consider what values a monument reconstructed in the present day might stand for. Against the backdrop of Rosa Luxemburg’s canonical choice between “Reform or revolution?” as well the events of the November Revolution in 1918–19, discussions will focus on the contradictory iterations of a revolutionary memory that is shaped by martyrdom and heroism, as well as optimism and melancholy.
Sanja Iveković, born in 1949 in Zagreb (Yugoslavia / Croatia today), lives and works there. She has participated in numerous international biennials and major exhibitions, such as documenta 8 (1987), 11 (2002) and 13 (2012) and has had comprehensive institutional solo exhibitions, for example in the South London Gallery (Unknown Heroine), the MUDAM, Luxembourg (Waiting for the revolution), 2012, at MoMA, New York (Sweet Violence), 2011, the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (Urgent Matters) and Muzeum Sztuki, Lodz (Practice Makes The Master), 2009. In 2015 she was nominated for the Artes Mundi Prize. In 2005 Sanja Iveković was a guest of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program.

“Memorial For(u)ms – Histories of Possibility”
A symposium with: Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen, Boris Buden, Ekaterina Degot, Antonia Majaca, Jodi Dean, Gal Kirn, Bojana Pejić, Gerald Raunig, Milica Tomic, Jelena Vesić, Siegbert Wolf, Sami Khatib, Branimir Stojanovic, Ralf Hoffrogge, Andrew Hersher, Susanne Leeb and Ross Wolfe, among others.

Curated by Antonia Majaca

A production of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program and HAU Hebbel am Ufer.

Heidrun Holzfeind + Mies van der Rohe

Colonnade Park / Mies in Newark, revisited
series of 11 images, C-prints, 40x60 cm, 2010 

The series of photographs shows exterior and interior views as well as the surroundings of the Colonnade and Pavilion Apartment buildings in Newark, New Jersey, which were designed by Mies van der Rohe in the late 1950ies.
The construction of the luxurious three modern glass and steel towers for middle class families and professionals and the Columbus Homes, eight high rise brick buildings for low-income families, was part of Newark‘s Urban Renewal Plan. The soon infamous Columbus Homes (like most other high rise public housing projects in Newark) were blasted in the 1990ies and a few years later replaced by Wyona Lipman Gardens, townhouses for yet again low-income families. Mies's apartment buildings, never landmarked, are now among the few high rise apartment buildings in the city.

The discoloring and staining of the images which occured accidentally during the slide processing, most likely due to bad chemicals adds to the question of timeliness of the design and concept of the architecture.

In conjunction with the video Colonnade Park, Holzfeind produced photographs documenting the site. During the photo-development process, the lab's error became Holzfeind's boon; the prints were delivered streaked and speckled with purplish-blue (sometimes pink) chemical solution. In the resulting images, a whimsical layer is superimposed between the negative (Holzfeind's composition) and that which it indexes (a corridor, a view from the window, a cathedral in the distance). Between the Colonnade and Pavilion Apartments and these photographs, the spills and splotches displace both the Mies buildings and their 2010 imaging into a hazy third temporality. (Niko Vicario)

Heidrun Holzfeind + Schwadron

Strictly Private, 2012 

The group of works focuses on the Viennese architect Ernst Schwadron (Vienna 1896 - New York 1979). He was the eldest son of the cofounder of "Brüder Schwadron", a well-known Jewish ceramics and tile company. The company's offices and showroom used to be BAWAG Contemporary's exhibition spaces in 2012. (An original tiled ceiling remains until today). Five floors above the gallery rooms, in the same building on Franz Josefs Kai 3, used to be Ernst Schwadron's own penthouse apartment.

Ernst Schwadron worked as an architect and interior designer in the late 1920's and 1930's in Vienna, mostly for a wealthy Jewish clientele. In 1938 he fled the Nazis and emigrated to New York where he ran his own design business, Ernst Schwadron Inc., on Madison Avenue for 30 years. In the late 1940's he built a house for himselfand his second wife in upstate New York which he called "Dream Lake." He died in New York in 1979 at the age of 82, pretty much forgotten in the architectural world.

The works interweave different places and points in time between 1930 and today, fathom the boundaries between history and identity, personal fate and today’s political narratives, reality and fiction. The interior of the gallery becomes a container for various photographs and artifacts that quote interiors of Schwadron.

Interiors are the focus of this new work, which picks up the trail of the Austrian architect Ernst Schwadron who was forced to emigrate to the United States in 1938. Presenting photographs of various interiors of homes he designed in Vienna and New York, Holzfeind documents a history full of gaps and question marks and, casting a glance at Schwadron’s personal taste and significant traits, sketches a social portrait of one of the forgotten protagonists of Viennese modernism. (Christine Kintisch)

Heidrun Holzfeind + Schindler

configurations (headstand / tree pose / L shaped handstand / hero pose / plow pose / bow pose / cobra pose / squat / handstand)
series of 9 C-prints, 20x30 cm, 2014 

In "configurations", a series of self-portraits in yoga poses, Holzfeind inscribes her body into the interior architecture of the Mackey Apartments in Los Angeles. Built in 1939 by Rudolph Schindler for Pearl Mackey as rental units, they now house the artist residents of the MAK-Schindler residency program by the MAK Center Los Angeles.
In homage to artist Valie Export's series "Körperkonfigurationen" (Body Configurations), Holzfeind uses the body as a kind of measuring device to consider the relationship between the user and architectural space. A humorous response to the pressure to be productive during an artist residency in a modernist apartment which is also regularly shown to architectural tourists; the apartment becomes the studio, the daily routine is extended into a meditation on the Californian body culture and Schindler's spacial concepts.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Heidrun Holzfeind at the Vienna Werkbundsiedlung

forms in relation to life / the Vienna Werkbundsiedlung
HD Video, 60 min, 2014
In his text Harmony in the art of building published in the exhibition catalog Die Internationale Werkbundsiedlung Wien 1932 Oskar Strnad speaks of “the harmony between nature and geometric forms which have become meaning.” Referencing this and other ideals of involved architects, the film looks at how the ideas of the model houses are “lived“ today, 80 years after their completion.

32 Austrian and international architects, among them Josef Hoffmann, Adolf Loos, Oswald Haerdtl, André Lurçat, Richard Neutra, Ernst Plischke, Gerrit Rietveld, Oskar Strnad and Margarethe Schütte-Lihotzky were invited by Josef Frank to build one and two family homes with gardens for this model housing estate in Vienna‘s 13th district. The aim was to create comfortable and cost-efficient housing within minimal space, as an alternative to the superblock structures the city built at the time. After the exhibition, only a few of the houses were sold. The majority of the houses was eventually rented through the “Wiener Wohnen” (affordable housing) program by the city of Vienna.

This basic idea: to maximize the utilization of minimal resources ... to create space for real life. (Walter Sobotka)
I tried to capture the search for this “real life“ in images, visiting residents in their houses and gardens over the period of one year. The inhabitants recount personal stories and anecdotes, and reflect on the social fabric within the estate.
The film looks at what ideas were fulfilled and which ones failed, how the residents have adapted the houses to their own needs, how they deal with the minimal living space, the restrictions imposed by landmark regulations or the frequent tourist visits. A loose collection of the various characters, stories and lifes taking place in the estate.
People will live there and have visitors, small friendships and big enmities will please and hurt. The exhibition will turn into a residential estate, once and until the connection between house and happiness, of home and experience happens. Once not only the kids brought in by the new owners but the newborns will cry there, once the dead are taken away. Once people will live there. (Johannes Ilg: Die Werkbund-Siedlung, in: Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung, July 29, 1932, page 6).

with: Elisabeth Gaisser, Angelika Grasmuck, Raimund Heinz, Margot & Anatol Hruby, Ivana, Fabian & Vanessa Jäger, Susanne Kompast, Elfriede Mislik, Helga Mislik, Brigitte Perner, Walter Raschbach
kids: Pablo Brudermann, Maja Dertschei, Kuba Holzfeind, Lino, Luca & Vita Horak, Ferun & Miex Mayer, Rosali Michalka, Miles Mungin

concept/camera/editing: Heidrun Holzfeind; additional camera (costume parade): Ruth Kaaserer

Aurélien Froment + Soleri

Aurélien Froment
De l'Ombre des idées (21-11), 2014
Framed archival inkjet print on baryta paper
82 x 65,8 x 3 cm
ed 3 + 2

Tom Burr + Le Corbusier

Tom Burr, “The Storage Project,” 1993 Installation view, Unite D’Habitation Le Corbusier, Firminy, France, 1993

Erika Hock + Loos

Erika Hock “The Seamstress, Her Mistress, the Mason and the Thief” installation views at Tenderpixel, London, 2014.

Courtesy: Tenderpixel, London. Photo: Original&theCopy.

Erika Hock’s practice is characterized by the fluid crossover in between sculptural and architectural elements, as well as a recent extended interest in tapestries and furniture that investigate meeting points between history, society and culture. Invested in discussions surrounding functionality and aesthetics, interior design and the perception of the body to the built environment, formed specifically for this exhibition Hock has centered her research upon the anecdotes surrounding Adolf Loos’s design for Josephine Baker’s house. Josephine Baker’s body as well as the building designed for her has become the subject of various studies, particularly in terms of understanding them as a surface for projecting modernist ideas at the convergence of art and architecture; theatricality and voyeurism. Hock’s playful panels of black and white felt reimagine the architectural body to the detail of the peeping widows as eyes, while evoke a playful theme of jazz. Treating the subject more generously, much like Sonia Delaunay’s and other early 20th century avant-garde artists’ textiles, they don’t describe a scene, a space or a character, but become it. Existing in between sculpture, wall based work and architecture, the tapestries explore the body’s relation to objects’ shape, form and scale through active presence and participation in the space.

Amie Siegel + Le Corbusier

Amie Siegel, Double Negative (detail), 2015. Two synchronized 16mm film projections, black & white / silent. Courtesy the artist and Simon Preston Gallery, New York.

The Museum Villa Stuck is pleased to present Amie Siegel: Double Negative, the first large-scale exhibition of American artist Amie Siegel, establishing correspondences between seven of the artist’s works spanning a decade (2005–15) and including a newly commissioned film installation that gives the exhibition its title.

Known for her layered, meticulously constructed works that trace and perform the undercurrents of systems of value, image-making and methods of observation, Siegel’s work moves between film, video, photography, performance and installation. The artist’s particular attention to the past, and the unfolding of time, provides the starting point for the exhibition’s structure: a series of “ritornellos,” reflexive passages of repetition and differenceSiegel, to quote Deleuze, “makes, remakes and unmakes” her works “along a moving horizon from an always decentred centre, from an always displaced periphery which repeats and differentiates them.”
The new commission Double Negative (2015) proposes ruptures between original and remake, artefact and copy, collection and preservation. Two 16mm films simultaneously project images of Le Corbusier’s iconic white Villa Savoye outside Paris, and its doppelgänger, a black copy located in Canberra, Australia. Each film has been printed on 16mm stock as a negative image, or polarity print, thus reversing light and dark. The Antipodean black Villa Savoye is, in fact, an ethnographic institute, dedicated now to the digital duplication of its extensive collections of anthropological films, photographs, slides and sound recordings, as Siegel reveals in a high definition colour video. The work enacts the infinite loop of recorded artefacts—the urgency to document and record “vanishing” rituals and cultural practices becomes instead the contemporary archival impulse to copy vanishing media formats to digital. These concatenated elements extend the artist’s engagement with architecture as a foil, enacting and revealing across constellation-like works, layered sociological and aesthetic concerns.

Shezad Dawood + Le Corbusier

Cities of the Future
September 24 - October 20, 2010

After partition Nehru invited Le Corbusier to design the Chandigarh Parliament.
While one can look at this as the intervention of European Modernism in India, if one looks at the bigger picture there is an obvious thread of mystic geometry originating in the Indian Subcontinent that could be said to pervade and inform European Modernism.

Thus, hermetic forms such as the spiral and atomic structures, developed in tantra, can be said to play a major part in the evolution and thinking of the early Modernists, influenced as they were by theosophy and Rosiecrucianism.
These systems of thought in turn were heavily influenced by early Indian philosophy and played their part in the independence movement in India.

It is this full circle of ideas and forms that this exhibition looks to explore.

Using a combination of pieces on vintage textile and neon wall sculptures, the works in the show map out a trajectory between formal abstraction, architecture and sacred geometry.

Through looking at a circulation of forms between Le Corbusier's designs for Chandigarh, tantric symbols- and the utopian narratives that could be said to both contain and be contained by them- what the show points to are alternative currents towards a mystical mapping of the city of the future.

R.B. Kitaj + Le Corbusier

R.B. Kitaj, The Red Banquet, 1960
Oil on canvas, 122 × 122 cm
© R.B. Kitaj Estate/Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool

This surreal painting was inspired by the historic dinner in London to which the American consul invited a dozen of exiled revolutionaries in 1854. Kitaj puts the wild men - the anarchists Michail Bakunin (1814-1876) and Alexander Herzen (1812-1870) - into an elegant and modern architectural setting.

The painting "The Red Banquet" is exemplary of the artist's way of thinking and working. Kitaj combined motifs from different sources in such an unconnected and unexpected manner that the painting seems to be composed of mental leaps. Kitaj became familiar with this principle from the work of the surrealists, the American poets Ezra Pound (1885-1972) and T. S. Eliot (1888-1965), and Walter Benjamin, who he had discovered early on as a great "fragmentist."

While studying in Oxford in the 1960s, he first encountered the iconography of the Warburg Institute in London through Professor Edgar Wind. The icons hearken back to Aby Warburg (1866-1929), who published a remarkable inventory of pictures in his "Mnemosyne Atlas". Warburg's thesis that magic and logic share a common origin coincided well with Kitaj's thinking.

"The Red Banquet" is one of the first London pictures in which Kitaj inserted handwritten commentary as a collage form. In the commentary, Kitaj quotes from a publication on the historical banquet and explains the composition of the painting as well as the different sources of the collaged pictures:

"In February 1854, Mr. Saunders, the American Consul, gave a banquet to a dozen of the principal foreign refugees in London. Among the guests were Alexander Herzen, Garibaldi, Mazzini, Orsini, Kossuth, Ledru-Rollin, Worcell, and other refugee leaders. The party was completed by the American Ambassador James Buchanan, a future President of the United States.
Herzen is apostrophised on the left in this picture with the image of Michael Bakunin planted in his midsection.... (Bakunin was not present but arrived in London late in 1861.)
This 'Red Banquet' is described by E. H. Carr in his book The Romantic Exiles (Penguin, 1949). The scene has been set in a house based on a photo of Le Corbusier's house at Garches, near St. Cloud, 1927-28."