Alongside a myriad of thought-provoking pavilions at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale, a notable lineup of art exhibitions will also debut.
Ronan Bouroullec Display at Giorgio Mastinu Gallery
Designer Ronan Bouroullec exhibits a rather enigmatic body of work through his untitled drawings and collages (2010-2017), along with Juillet, a new book of drawings. A seductive exploration of color, elemental forms, and space is rendered through humble means: color felt tip pen and pencil works are free-flowing on paper, and in some cases, collaged with masking tape. These abstract works were produced on a daily basis alongside ongoing projects and can be considered a “parallel” practice – essential research for intuitive spatial, chromatic, geometric investigations – but for Bouroullec, they primarily served as a creative release and form of pleasure, unclouded of limitations, goals, or planning. His spontaneous drawings and collages, created intrinsically with materials available around him, are considered a more candid and intimate way to express himself and to satisfy a need to “express in the most naked way.”
While experimental investigations are an integral part of the discipline for both Ronan and his brother Erwan at their design studio, their distinctive dispositions on design allow for their approach to be quite fluid, coherently moving between mediums. Their notable designs have been exhibited in prominent museums, including the MoMA (New York) and the Museum of Decorative Arts (Paris). The brothers have also accomplished a number of memorable works for Vitra, Kartell, and most recently WonderGlass. Although not directly related to any specific projects, Bouroullec notes that his oscillating drawings relate most closely to his Alcova collection for WonderGlass, in which the designer poetically translates the vibration of color through glass.
Bouroullec’s vibrant drawings and collages, which were never intended for exhibition, illustrate a sort of visual stimulation remarkably pure and rare in form, generating refreshing works of art. Acknowledging an energetic visceral stream of ideas performed with his undeniable meticulousness, this body of work may loosely map hints and references of his prolific designs and the restorative research behind them, but namely, it reveals his distinctive intuitive impulses and mindset--drawing him unanticipated intrigue from outside spectators.
Exhibiting with Bouroullec’s pieces are works by two other notable figures: original photographs and modernist sculptures by Italian artist Enzo Mari derived from his Venice Biennale show “44 evaluations” presented in the 1970s, and Chilean architect Smiljan Radic’s drawings, studies, and an architectural model for the Serpentine Pavilion.
Ronan Bouroullec’s exhibition will be on view at Giorgio Mastinu Gallery at Calle San Marco in Venice from 23 May – 23 June 23.
Ronan will also be giving a talk and presenting his new book Juillet at Teatrino di Palazzo Grassi in Venice on 8 June.
Do Ho Suh at Victoria Miro Venice
Korean artist Do Ho Suh will be presenting new works from his Rubbing/Loving project at Victoria Miro in Venice. Directly influenced by his longstanding practice at the highly esteemed STPI Creative Workshop (specializing in print and paper works), Suh immortalizes the physical surroundings of the space, encapsulating his time spent there. His creative process reveals a window into his understanding of structural space and how it affects the body through recollection. He lays paper over familiar knobs, light switches, and even a telephone he once used and rubs light colored pastels on its surface leaving phantom impressions in delicate colors. The rubbed paper is later shaped back into its original three-dimensional form, constructing Suh’s signature weightless, yet architectural sculptures. For Suh, Rubbing/Loving also refers to the sensation of touch, wherein the paper acts as a second skin for rubbing pastels with his fingers resembling a “caress.” A master documentarian of his living quarters and of personally revered objects, Suh symbolizes the pliancy of space, memory, and identity through his body of work shown here.
DO HO SUH, RUBBING/LOVING, STPI, ARTIST STUDIO 35, 41 ROBERTSON QUAY, SINGAPORE 238236, 2017. © DO HO SUH. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST, STPI AND VICTORIA MIRO, LONDON/VENICE.
Parallel to this exhibition, Do Ho Suh is showing a new film Robin Hood & Gardens: A Ruin in Reverse at the V&A presentation for the Venice Biennale at the Pavilion of Applied Arts on May 26 through November 25, 2018. Documenting the architecture and interiors of a utopian residential project by Alison and Peter Smithson, Robin Hood Gardens (1972) before its demolition, Suh ruminates on the ideas of home, memory and displacement through time-lapse photography, drone footage, 3D-scanning, and photogrammetry.
Do Ho Suh’s exhibition will be on view from 25 May – 7 July at Victoria Miro Venice.
Ahnna Lee is a New York-based writer and editor.