An exhibition that brings together work by contemporary artists that satirises the relationship between art and architecture, and the mythology of the architect.
“Art and architecture have always existed in a kind of mutually beneficial standoff,” says curator Aaron Lister, “Entirely dependent on each other, they are also in a constant state of one upmanship and battle for cultural supremacy. Artists despair when architects exhibit inside galleries, architects rise up when artists design buildings. ‘I blame the Greeks!’ says Vinko Glanz, just one of the architects who features as a character in this exhibition.”
Made up of thousands of pieces of white lego, Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson’s The Cubic Structural Evolution Projectexplores the power of architecture to determine experience and maintain social order. Eliasson invites the audience to ‘become architects’ and participate in the construction, destruction and re-construction of his work.
Jasmina Cibic’s highly stylised videos that restage historical debates concerning art, architecture and power represented Slovenia at the 2013 Venice Biennale. One film contains an interview with Slovenian State architect Vinko Glanz who outlines his philosophy of architecture, and reiterates his truth that art and artists must submit to architectural form. The opposite scenario is played out in Scottish artist Henry Coombes’s darkly mesmerising video I am the Architect, this is not Happening, this is Unacceptable. The video is set inside the attic and the confused mind of retired architect Clive who slowly surrenders the order and rationality of his profession to the impulsive and chaotic values of art.
Wellington artist Kirsty Lillico’s soft sculptures similarly undermine the promise of modernist architecture. In cutting floor plans from iconic modernist buildings into pieces of carpet salvaged from local building sites, she renders the utopian visions of architects like Le Corbusier dirty, flaccid, and redundant.
These and other works sit amongst documentation from a variety of projects where the relationship between art and architectural form can perhaps best be characterised as demented, all staged within a gallery that was once a public library and has its own complex history and set of architectural issues.