by David Newport, Gallery Assistant
The present exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary explores the power and art of architecture. In the first two galleries, we are introduced to the work of the DAAR, a loose architectural collective based nearBethlehem and consisting of an Israeli, a Palestinian and an Italian. This group has taken the tragedy of the Palestine/Israel situation and injected it with both hope and humour.
DAAR, Common Assembly. Photo © Andy Keate
What better use for an ex-military base could there be than to punch holes into it, so that migrating birds can nest, or to replace the pitched roofs of private houses with an interconnecting terrace to celebrate communal life. The group further probes the absurdity of colonisation by taking the line on a map literally and scaling it up into a five metre wide ‘lawless line’; a line that bisects, among other buildings, the Palestinian Parliament. A building which the PLO erected as close to <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />
Thomas Demand, Model Studies. Photo © Andy Keate
From the heat of the desert, the exhibition moves to the decadence of the Los Angelescoast and to the cinematic luxury of John Lautner’s architecture in Galleries 3 and 4. In these galleries, Thomas Demand has created a vibrant atmosphere consequent of his empathy with the building and his love of this space. Colour, texture and depth radiate from his monumental photographs of Lautner’s architectural models. They appear as doors inviting you to step into extraordinary spaces, or to contemplate the DNA of a roof or a terrace. The flamboyance of Lautner’s designs may not be to everyone’s taste, but few can argue with the beauty of Demand’s presentation.
The overall effect of this exhibition is to remind you of the value of architecture and its ability to affect the human experience. It is an exhibition that will change the way that you look at the world; tiled roofs and boundary lines will never be the same again….so don’t miss it.