The artists in this installation share, with Thomas Demand, a very particular attitude towards models, which stems from their engagement with architecture. Models, according to Demand, are ways of understanding the environment without the distraction of a multitude of diverging stimulations. They are pieces of cultural technology.
Included in this exhibition are large-format photographs by Demand, showing details of models made by twentieth-century American architect John Lautner and his studio. The models themselves are modest working tools – a colored pencil is used to give indications of vegetation, and there are visible comments and traces of discarded alternatives. Their material components are equally cheap and fading – cardboard, aluminum, and found objects. Demand’s photographs, taken from a large series entitled Model Studies, revel in such traces of Lautner’s practice.
Exhibited alongside these are ninety archival photographs, housed within three large vitrines designed by artist Thomas Scheibitz. These works were produced by students of the Vkhutemas school of architecture in Moscow (1920-1930). Central to the foundations of a Soviet avant-garde architect was an understanding of how the image of architecture is an essential aspect of the building itself. As a result, it was a mandatory part of these students’ curriculum to photograph their rather unelaborated models.
All of these works are exhibited under the canopy of Martin Boyce’s large sculpture, entitled Beyond the Repetition of High Windows, Intersecting Flight Paths and Opinions, originally created in 2011. The canopy causes light from above to be scattered around three columns and reflected and refracted in random patterns on the wall. Boyce’s point of departure was a concrete tree, designed by Robert Mallet-Stevens and co-signed with the sculptors Joel and Jan Martel in Paris in 1925. Boyce has distilled a set of formal elements from that original sculpture into a repeated pattern.