with a selection of works Aglaia Conrad (Salzburg, 1960), Armin Linke (Milan, 1966) e Bass Princen (Zeland, 1975), W Mendrisio Architecture Theatre from the University of Italian Switzerland He opened the “What a Mad Pursuit” exhibition he promotedUSI Academy of Architecture and edit it Francesco Zanot.
Inexhaustible in conceptual slogans and in simple sociology, What a Mad Pursuit is proposed as a realization, as a pseudoscientific experiment on the semantic tension created by the juxtaposition of works created by different artists at different times and for different purposes. Zanot explains, recalling the months Checkups By Ugo Mulas, Fourteen Reflections on the Variables of Photographic Language Connecting Photographic Practice to Concept.
The title of the exhibition – which resulted from a process of collaboration with and between artists but also a reflection of the concept of collaboration in the encounter and intersection of different works – takes the title of the book by The World. Francis Crick, known for his outstanding contribution to the discovery of DNA. The 1988 text, listing some of the most extraordinary successes in genetics and molecular biology, contains a sentence crucial to the exhibition’s intentions: “In nature, hybrids are generally sterile but in science the opposite is often true. Hybrids are exceptionally fertile in many Sometimes while if a scientific system remains too pure, it is destined to perish.”
This hymn to the dynamism that arises from meeting, mingling and intertwining, in art as in science, brings us closer to the extraordinary nature of this exhibition, specially designed for the space of the Teatro di Architettura. It is not an exhibition of architectural photography, the approach by which the delicate, critical and at the same time space-captured poetic looks of Aglaya Konrad, Armin Link and Bass Princen is not objective. What a Mad Pursuit is proposed as an investigation of the relationship between architecture and photography, and between photography and context itself. The result is a continuous porosity between represented space and exhibition space, between represented space and real space, which constantly questions the documentary function of photography and contradicts its two-dimensional connotations in favor of its materiality within space.
Aglaia Konrad, Armin Linke and Bas Princen are not architectural photographers but starting from the idea of architecture as built space and gradually detaching from it, they reflect on the photographic process between documentation and interpretation: photography, as we know it, records and translates at the same time. Each of them faced himself “directly with the walls of the theater of architecture, or rather, thinking about the distance that should be placed between the images and the surrounding walls, and thus the perimeter of the space, and the consequences of this for reading the images. Zanot explained that the consequences, which are not only perceptual, but also semantic, fall within the meanings of our reading ». So the works Aglaia Conradfrom the series Stone formation – Launched in 2008 and dedicated to the study of the relationship between society and the environment, i.e. the strategies implemented by our species to take over, modify and use the Earth for its own purposes – it sticks to walls in wallpaper form, revealing textures, textures, bumps and textures. By juxtaposing different eras and geographies, the works on display act as maps that take matter, stone in particular, as their subject matter. Conrad’s investigation goes through different eras providing a series of coordinates for decoding reality, without providing an unequivocal description. Installed on different floors of the exhibition space, in a continuous corridor from the past to the present, from the natural to the built, from the original to the transformation, the works reveal a possible mega-assembly in which many cities come together in one place, defying the concept of space and time.
a job Bass Princen, on the other hand, depicts human landscapes. Princen chose to work with rice paper, wrinkled, apt to convey an extraordinary sculptural quality to the images, a real relief, which reminds us that photographic works in space are never images but objects, to check the shifting urban context, the constant fluctuation of the boundary between what is considered natural or Artificially, the impact of economic and political factors on the forms and methods of construction. His investigations delves into the nature of images and architecture, which turns out to be the subject par excellence for revealing them. In the works on display, created between 2018 and 2023, he dissects the images to highlight how each image is in fact a detail that guides the reading, but also the overlap between multiple authors: many of the works on display are images of other works (Trivulzio tapestry, Bramantino cycle, for example) or representations that allow him to reflect on this aspect. Some of the works on display are taken inside buildings, such as the Basilica of Spada in Rome, which allows for a certain coincidence: both his works and the buildings represented by the images are objects with images. It is a matter of repetition and persistence that eliminates the close distance of the work. There is no final solution but more and more questions are generated.
Armin LinkeFinally, who met Aglaia Konrad 25 years ago and who climbed volcanoes in Indonesia with Bas Princen, chose to extract from his photographic archive a collection of his own images of different projects to mix and combine them in order to build a new narrative capable of reactivating new meanings. The archive is one of the main subjects of research by Linke, who decided to use the exhibition space as a screen that mimics the rhythm of this architecture as if it were a real choreography. The works, from a sketch by Oscar Niemeyer to the ramparts built for the Group of Eight in Genoa in 2001, to a cloud that sits perfectly on the rugged terrain of a mountain in the Aosta Valley, are placed in harmony with some of the building’s defining artistic elements such as the openings in the walls Concrete through which iron wires pass to support the formwork during construction. These perforations represent the default position in which Linke’s work encounters: the result is a choreography in which the works take on the same rhythm of space.
In “What Madness” the scenography and the works of Linke, Princen and Konrad merge into one democratic and multifaceted ensemble in which the synthesis energizes new meanings, new readings and new interpretations that take photography as an object, in its body, in its being. All the works on display maintain a relationship with the space within the frame and with the space outside, proving essential, in this world distorted by rushing images, to learn to see and to stimulate thought and discernment.
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