Spaces without drama or surface is an illusion, but so is depth.
On February 16, the Graham Foundation presented Spaces without drama or surface is an illusion, but so is depth, an exhibition that examines the recent proliferation of collage in architectural representation in relationship to scenography and theatrical set design. Based on historical references such as nineteenth-century toy theaters, as well as twentieth-century models such as Aldo Rossi’s Little Scientific Theater, and David Hockney’s stage design for the Magic Flute, this project invites contemporary practitioners to rethink the ways in which architecture is created in relationship to theatricality and how it oscillates between reality and scenography to answer questions about space, depth, context, façade, and representation.
Featuring the work of architects Emilio Ambasz, baukuh, Gerardo Caballero, fala atelier, Marcelo Ferraz, Sam Jacob Studio, Johnston Marklee, Monadnock, MOS Architects, Norman Kelley, OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen, Cecilia Puga, Aldo Rossi, Taller de Arquitectura Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo, Pezo Von Ellrichshausen; artists Pablo Bronstein, William Leavitt, Silke Otto-Knapp, Gabriel Sierra, Batia Suter; and dramaturg Jorge Palinhos; Spaces without drama investigates the similarities between theatrical stage sets and architectural scale models, highlighting the ways that each constructed landscape anticipates narratives and prompts the personal drama of speculation and the creation of fictions. In both cases, the resulting spatial experience is controlled and precisely framed with a fixed relation between observer and object—an architectural imaginary that is more graphic composition than spatial creation, more image than space. By superimposing fragments, forms and elements within a given stage set, the model of the theater allows the participants to rehearse the laws of artistic creation itself. As Aldo Rossi states about the theater in A Scientific Autobiography: “Inside it, nothing can be accidental, yet nothing can be permanently resolved either.”