Sunday, 3 November 2002
'EL AIRE ES AZUL/THE AIR IS BLUE' AT LUIS BARRAGAN'S HOUSE, CURATED BY HANS ULRICH OBRIST
Claudia Fernandez,´El espacio ideal´, 2002
Impromptu appearance of horses and lambs on November 2nd
Rirkrit Tiravanija, 'Restoration of Barragán's Cadillac', 2002-2003
Damian Ortega,'Torre', 2002, Latex and concrete, (45 x 30 x 253 cm)
Gilbert & George, Photograph of the artist on their visit to Barragán's House, 2002
Dan Graham, 'Two-way Mirror Hedge Labyrinth- Water Basin Version', 1989-2002, Model
Olafur Eliasson, 'The Barragán House Kaleidoscope', 2002, kaleidoscope, mixed media, (120 x 120 x 70 cm)
Mirrored Ball, House Interior
Gilbert & George, Photograph of the artist on their visit to Barragán's House, 2002
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Exoplanet, 2002, Mirrored glass balls and balloons
Pablo Leon de la Barra and Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster
Breakfast Room, interior; Barragans' plates with the inscription 'Solitude'
Pablo Leon de la Barra, "Soledad", 2003, Graffiti on a street wall
read my text in the catalogue here.
El Aire es Azul - The Air is Blue
Hans Ulrich Obrist
When I visited Mexico City for the first time, Pedro Reyes told me a lot about the Casa Barragán, which inspired a first visit in the house of the same name. After a while, the idea of an imaginary exhibition began to take shape and in the course of the following year it crystallized in conversations with the Director of the Barragán house, Catalina Corcuera and LCM, a visionary urban laboratory who had already organized several very intense research projects in Mexico City. LCMs openness and inventiveness allowed us to define this exhibition as a Laboratory where the emphasis lies on the process of research and knowledge production.
Throughout the year 2002 the artists visited the Museum and made their research in situ. The Laboratory year at the Barragan House is about how experiments, ideas and concepts work between art and architecture, how bridges can be built where we go beyond the fear of pooling knowledge.
The two parts of the exhibition, which open in November 2002 and January 2003, aim at rendering public what happened during the one year of research. The wonderful and enthusiastic organization of this exhibition through LCM and the Barragán House has been a stimulating and rewarding experience, enriched by the vision of the artists themselves. I would like to thank all the artists and Fernando, Tatiana, Rita, Jose at LCM wholeheartedly for making all this possible.
There are many posthumous museums and memorials devoted exclusively to one artist or architect, or designed to preserve the namesake's original working conditions, or living conditions. Much rarer are the museums conceived by artists in their lifetimes as an environment and preserved as such, which - similar to the Sir John Soanes Museum in London - clearly is the case with the very consciously constructed house of Barragán.
The project which started to evolve in the Barragán House is the continuation of the exhibition which Cerith Wyn Evans and I had organized in 1999 /2000 at the Sir John Soanes Museum in London, which focused on the interstices of what happens between the "various narratives, various objects, and these extraordinary vistas that you come upon by accident, and then you catch a reflection of yourself." (1)
Since the Museum has the dimensions of a home, visitors do not have the same relationship to the works on display as they would in monumental museum architecture. The gulf between the museum and the world of living experience, criticized by Adorno, has been bridged.
An obsession with color and light are a read-thread of Barragáns universe, Barragán achieved his effects, not through ornamentation or ornamental reduction, but through space, color, and light. The Museum reveals various superimposed and merging states of color- light, constructed by Barragán. Visitors encounter direct, indirect, reflected, broken, dispersed, or refracted light, BARRAGAN: SPACE - COLOR - LIGHT: INVENTION (2). Color / light also plays an important role for artists in their dealings with the Museum.
The garden and pavilion form an inseparable unit of rare beauty, the artistic interventions will take place both inside and outside the house. Both garden and house are accessible and open to visitors who are invited to discover Barragán's private library, archives (personal documents and photographs), art collections; ongoing conservation of Barragán's work; and publications. The exhibition "The Air Is Blue" (title conceived by artist Douglas Gordon), invites the viewer to see contemporary artists' interventions, dealing with the water-fountain / garden, the colored walls, the sky, the sound of the building, the silence, the kitchen, the garage, the stairways / labyrinth, clothes and textiles, flowing space, seamless space, stage architecture - "monumental in quality, static in feeling" - as Emilio Ambasz defined it. The user introduces the tension / presence-absence issue, memory: "Art is memorys mise- en- scéne".
As Emilia Terragni shows in her text "Art within Architecture", Barragán's lifelong search for the integration of the arts and architecture led him to intense dialogues with visual artists and their work: Jose Clemente Orozco, Dr. Atl, Chucho Reyes, Mathias Goeritz, de Chirico, Josef and Anni Albers, and many others.
In "Origins of Modernism: Luis Barragán, the Formative Years" Marco de Michelis reveals the importance of several journeys for Barragán's life and work: in 1924/25 his first European Grand Tour and his longer stay in Paris in 1925 (the confrontation with the works of Le Corbusier, Mallet Stevens, Melnikov or Kiesler in the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes and the discovery of the garden of the exhibition and the related writings of Ferdinand Bac). This trip was followed by important trips to New York in 1931 where Barragán met Orozco and Kiesler. The meeting with Kiesler is particularly interesting for the bridges between art and architecture, between art and life.
1. Cerith Wyn Evans
2. Lygia Pape
Text on Barragan by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster:
Walking mentally through the house
A golden square floating above the stairs
Remembering the gray telephone ringing
Ringing several times no answer ringing again
Pink interior walls and green garden darkness
The futuristic reflection of each room into a mirror ball
A spheric and permanent sense of photography
A mirror ball like a mental swimming pool in a room
Diving into reflected space
Built spaces photographed spaces fluid spaces
Photo-spaces spatial image - mirrored space
Intense iconographic metabolism and deep emotional
Barragan and photography and images - and space
The terrace of the house is the spatialization of an image
A photographic iconographic relation to architecture
its a space-image a reproduced space
A recorded space
A transferred picture
An empty terrace or an empty picture
During the first visit to the house
a clear impossibility to take any pictures
of a space totally connected to pictorial emotions
A visit to El Pedregal Some places dont exist anymore
some parts of El Pedregal only exist through photography
photographic feelings emotional spaces
images in Barragans house paintings, windows,
screens, color walls, mirror balls
List of Works:
'El aire es azul / the air is blue', 2002
'Restoration of Barragán's Cadillac', 2002-2003
GILBERT & GEORGE
Photograph of the artist on their visit to Barragán's House, 2002.
´El espacio ideal´, 2002
Impromptu appearance of horses and lambs on November the 2nd.
´Untitled / sin título, 2002
Artist book, (25 x 19 cm) 120 p.Edition of 1000
CERITH WYN EVANS
'Jukebox Barragán´, 2002
A selection of records owned by Luis Barragán will be reproduced on the
house's original audio players.
PETER FISCHILI & DAVID WIESS
'12 Siedlungen, Aglomeration', 1992
16 color prints (21 x 29 cm)
Golden cotton thread installation.
'Saying water' 2001
KAZUO SEJIMA / RYUE NISHIZAWA - SANAA
´Mirror chairs´, 2002
'Two-way Mirror Hedge Labyrinth- Water Basin Version'
'The Barragán House Kaleidoscope', 2002
kaleidoscope, mixed media
(120 x 120 x 70 cm)
'Barragán's Urinary', 2002
'No Barragán, No cry', 2002
DOMINIQUE GONZALES FORESTER
Mirrored glass balls and balloons.
Latex and concrete
(45 x 30 x 253 cm)
Suite Barragan, 2003.
Stolen towels and amenities from the Camino Real Hotel suites,
smuggled into Luis Barragan's former bedroom.
In collaboration with Cuahutemoc Medina
PABLO LEON DE LA BARRA
Graffiti on a street wall
Handmade wool cover for Luis Barragan's bed
that becomes a dress to be used in the house.
Drawings of la ville spatiale 1959-1960
80 pages document of an internet search
Bagdad panorama, 2002
Beads courtain / two or three things he knows about me, 2003.
PHILIPPE PARRENO / RIRKRIT TIRAVANIJA
Poster 120 x 90 cms.
Data transfer to mexico city, 2003.
dvd loop, flatscreen.
Animation loop 2 min. LCD.
in collaboration with Jose Castro
Slide projection and soundtrack.