This year's Shanghai Biennale, themed Bodies of Water, examines the interconnectivity and interdependency of people, climates, ecosystems and technologies, exploring the idea of collectivity in the light of accelerating climate change and the current global pandemic. The 13th edition of the oldest biennial in China features works by 64 participating artists exploring the intricate web of interferences and connections in the contemporary world.
Art: The Latest Architecture and News
Tarot is often described as a mirror of the soul. Much like the spaces we inhabit, we can look at the symbols housed within the 72-card deck and see reflections of ourselves and our belief systems. The object and practice itself contain many architectural associations: It’s not uncommon for words like “structures,” “foundations,” and “home” to come up in a tarot reading. Traditional cards depict towers, castles, and churches. Sometimes the cards are described as keys, sometimes as gateways.
Public art is an innate cultural privilege for New Yorkers. Top-notch art can be found across the city’s boroughs everywhere from parks, squares, alleys, and rooftops—sometimes to the jaded disdain of passerby. While permanent staples, such as Robert Indiana’s Love on 6th Avenue or George Segal’s Gay Liberation at the Stonewall National Monument are ingrained in the urban texture, others are more ephemeral. Public art has the power to swiftly take over Instagram feeds but also has a history of sparking polarizing interpretations at town hall hearings.
Vão is a transdisciplinary architecture office based in São Paulo, Brazil, created in 2013 by Anna Juni, Enk te Winkel, and Gustavo Delonero. The office operates in a territory between fields, exploring multiple subjects and scales ranging from art installations to residential architecture, as well as cultural, commercial, and corporate facilities, seeking to dissolve or push the boundaries between disciplines to enhance architectural thinking and practice.
Recently we had the opportunity to talk with the team partners about some of the topics that shape the firm's approach and also look deeper into some of the group's best-known projects. You can read the interview below.
This article is based on a lecture given by Chilean artist and architect Alfredo Jaar at the 20th Architecture and Urbanism Biennale in Valparaiso, Chile, on October 26, 2017.
It's June of 1980. Alfredo Jaar, a recent dropout of the University of Chile's architecture program, walks through the center of Santiago carrying two large signs. He grabs a spot in the shade next to a kiosk and intercepts passers-by to ask them his questions. In the midst of a military dictatorship, Jaar wants the people to vote, but not for the constitutional plebiscite or in the democratic elections. He doesn't even have paper or pencil for them to vote with. There's no line to mark on. His campaign centers on a mint--white and round--like a casino raffle ball.
Jaar's questions are loaded ones. "Are you happy?" (¿Es usted feliz?) he asks. "How many people in Chile do you think are happy?" "How many people in the world?"
Six months after the release of the namesake book during the latest installment of the biennial, PERFORMA has launched Bodybuilding, which features thirty-five architecture studios who engage with performativity.
Is architecture a period or a comma? Are built forms hermetic bodies or catalysts for action? PERFORMA curator Charles Aubin and architect Carlos Mínguez Carrascor, published Bodybuilding: Architecture and Performance, during the most recent installment of the PERFORMA 19 biennial in New York City last November. Noticing a lack of a comprehensive, multigenerational survey on the subject, the duo’s interest in investigating the ways architects engage with performance goes as far back as a symposium they co-organized at the Performa 17 Hub in 2017. The book, which features essays by Mabel O. Wilson and Bryony Roberts, Lluís Alexandre Casanovas Blanco, and Victoria Bugge Øye, seeded the fundamental approaches now deeply rooted in the online exhibition: the impact of movement on systematic urbanization, the body’s relationship to buildings and monuments, and architecture’s role in action, be it physical or sociopolitical.
Overall, when designing exhibition spaces, certain aspects contribute to an effective display of the pieces: diffuse lighting, spatial distribution, and high ceilings are some of them. The combination of these features with rooms that are able to transform themselves (using elements that can be perforated, repainted, and adapted according to each exhibition), is common in many art galleries, expressing the dialogue between art and architecture.
The recent success of Parasite, the award winning film directed by South Korean director Bong Joon Ho, has created a conversation around the emphasis of architecture and interior spaces in movies. This particular film does an excellent job of blurring the boundaries between the two disciplinary fields, to the point where the architecture is not just the background of the set, but it has been placed at the forefront of the storyline, and takes on the leading role in many scenes.
Mies van der Rohe Foundation together with Side Gallery presented "No Fear of Glass", an artistic intervention in the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona, Spain, developed by designer Sabine Marcelis.
The Bulgarian artist Christo will wrap the famous Arc de Triomphe in Paris with recyclable blue fabric in his next work. The work, which will open on April 9 and last for two weeks, coincides with the artist's large exhibition at the Center Pompidou, which brings together works done in partnership with his late wife, Jeanne-Claude, during the period in which they lived in Paris.
Architecture can be understood through many prisms but is often seen solely as the response to material demands - housing, leisure, commerce, etc. But perhaps no space is more emotionally and symbolically loaded than that of sacred spaces. Designing spaces for worship (religious or otherwise) can be one of the most creative and liberating tasks of this profession. These spaces transcend the terrestrial plane of mere material to become part of a universe of subjectivity and faith.
We present below a series of illustrations of such spaces by André Chiote, featuring famed architectural works by designers such as Gottfried Bohm, Oscar Niemeyer, and Peter Zumthor.
Street art has long surpassed mere trend to become an integral part of cities' cultural identities. What was once considered vandalism is now not only accepted but encouraged. The works of once-prosecuted artists such as Banksy and Shepard Fairey are now collector's items; murals can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $20,000 or more. Through their works, artists may even have the power to save cities.
Sculptor and jewelry designer, Cydney Ross explores the architectural passage of time through unconventional ceramics and mixed media. By over-firing, freezing, and thawing her materials, she simulates the swaying, slumping, and even collapsing of structure.
Artist David Louf, aka Mr. June, has earned a reputation for creating striking urban art, most recently using three-dimensional murals that play off architectural elements. As Colossal reports, within the last year Mr. June's geometric abstractions have become increasingly architectural as they aim to challenge viewer’s perceptions. Producing work since 1985, Mr. June recently completed a 130-foot diameter dome in North Carolina and a 3D mural for Urban Nation in Berlin.