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Architectural Allusions - Gimpel Fils Gallery


Callum Morton and Edwin Zwakman

21 May - 5 July 2003

Architectural Allusions brings together the work of international artists, Edwin Zwakman and Callum Morton. Both artists use architecture to allude to the nature of our public and private lives. The importance of architectural design in their creative practice enables Morton and Zwakman to examine how our homes, and places of work, actively inform and shape our behaviour. The aspirations of architectural spaces can be reinforced or undermined by the uses to which we put them, and Morton and Zwakman explore the strange and curious aspects and elements of our architectural locations to intriguing outcomes.

Callum Morton is an Australian artist who originally trained as an architect, and his sculptures and digital prints display not only a fascination with modernist architecture of the 20th century, but also an awareness of how people move, perform, and react to and within particular spaces. Morton's series of digital prints reconfiguring icons of the International Style such as Gerrit Rietveld's Schroder House, Utrecht into commercial outlets such as a branch of Toys R Us, reflects upon the outcome of modern architecture's utopian vision and dream of social engineering. In a 1:4 scale model of Mies Van Der Rohe's Farnsworth House, Morton has created an uncanny juxtaposition of pure modernist design and film noir horror. Although the blinds of the house are drawn we can detect the flashing of multi-coloured disco lights, and hear the sounds of a party taking place. Then, amidst the chatter, the sounds of gunfire, a scream and then silence. Our own morbid fascination of what the neighbours are up to makes us want to draw the blinds aside, and find out exactly what went on. After a few moments the party begins again, and the guests are trapped within a cycle of endless frivolity and murder. By its very nature architecture presents a conflict between the private of the interior domain and the public exterior of the façade.

Edwin Zwakman's photographs of scale architectural models built in his studio investigate the exact and bureaucratic requirements of Dutch social housing regulations. In a celebration of the architectural vernacular, doorways, window frames, and balconies become the subject for meticulous reconstruction and celebration. These are scenes of the everyday. Zwakman's photographic images of his miniature maquettes of apartment blocks, living rooms and kitchens illustrate the true banality of our lives, forcing us to recognize the constructed nature of the rules and regulations to which we abide. In the Netherlands, when an apartment is left empty, between inhabitants, regulations require that the carpets, curtains, and elements that make the space a 'home' should be removed, and that the walls should be painted white. The space becomes empty. Stripped bare by its inhabitants, the appartment no longer functions as it was intended, and as such, becomes a simple reminder of how our lives are informed by architectural spaces and the objects we place within them.

Edwin Zwakman had his first solo exhibition at Gimpel Fils in 2000. His exhibition Facades was shown at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven in 1999, and his work was included in the Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2001.

This is Callum Morton's first exhibition at Gimpel Fils. His touring solo show organised by Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, opens in October, when his work will also be included in a group exhibition at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin.

For further details please contact Jackie Haliday.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7493 2488 Fax: +44 (0)20 7629 5732
New gallery opening hours:
Mon - Fri 10am - 5.30pm, Sat 11am - 4pm


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