Monday, 26 March 2012

The Power of Art & Architecture

by David Newport, Gallery Assistant

The present exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary explores the power and art of architecture. In the first two galleries, we are introduced to the work of the DAAR, a loose architectural collective based near Bethlehem and consisting of an Israeli, a Palestinian and an Italian. This group has taken the tragedy of the Palestine/Israel situation and injected it with both hope and humour.

DAAR, Common Assembly. Photo © Andy Keate
What better use for an ex-military base could there be than to punch holes into it, so that migrating birds can nest, or to replace the pitched roofs of private houses with an interconnecting terrace to celebrate communal life. The group further probes the absurdity of colonisation by taking the line on a map literally and scaling it up into a five metre wide ‘lawless line’; a line that bisects, among other buildings, the Palestinian Parliament. A building which the PLO erected as close to Jerusalem as the Knesset, and consequently incurred a boundary change between Palestine and Israel, which led inevitably to its abandonment. The DAAR has now taken that bisecting line and re-constructed it in Gallery 2 as a spectacular, dream-like structure. Its sleek, black form appears suspended by cables that reflect and refract the light. The resulting structure dances in the sunlight, lifts your spirits, and appears to reach up to heaven.

Thomas Demand, Model Studies. Photo © Andy Keate
From the heat of the desert, the exhibition moves to the decadence of the Los Angeles coast and to the cinematic luxury of John Lautner’s architecture in Galleries 3 and 4. In these galleries, Thomas Demand has created a vibrant atmosphere consequent of his empathy with the building and his love of this space. Colour, texture and depth radiate from his monumental photographs of Lautner’s architectural models. They appear as doors inviting you to step into extraordinary spaces, or to contemplate the DNA of a roof or a terrace. The flamboyance of Lautner’s designs may not be to everyone’s taste, but few can argue with the beauty of Demand’s presentation.

The overall effect of this exhibition is to remind you of the value of architecture and its ability to affect the human experience. It is an exhibition that will change the way that you look at the world; tiled roofs and boundary lines will never be the same again….so don’t miss it.

Thomas Demand, Model Studies & Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency, Common Assembly run until 15 April. For more information including opening times, click here.

1 comment:

  1. These shows allow the house to reveal its beautiful self.