FIGURE GROUND GAME
Like the Greek Demigod Antaeus, Architecture derives its most mysterious and ancient powers from its contact with the earth. . . .
exhibition: Jeffrey KIPNIS & Stephen TURK, “Figure Ground Game: An Architecturalists Show.”
7.00 p.m. / SCI-Arc Gallery
960 East 3rd Street
Los Angeles, California 90013
FIGURE GROUND GAME
Like the Greek Demigod Antaeus, Architecture derives its most mysterious and ancient powers from its contact with the earth. For millennia, it has used those powers to stage the realms of Pharoahs, Emperors, Popes, the Rich and the Powerful. With the advent of Modernism, the desire to redeploy its powers to more egalitarian ends captured the minds of the century’s greatest architects, from Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe to Archigram to John Hejduk, an ambition that gave rise to the single most important statement in the discipline’s history – Architecture or Revolution – the oft-cited chapter title from Corb’s Vers une Architecture. In every case, a central motif in that enterprise has been a revised relation between building and ground and all the consequences that such revision entails. Lift the building off the ground, turn it into a floating inflatable, set it into motion, turn the ground into a building, turn the building into the ground. Even today 100 years into that tale, revisiting yet again architecture’s relation to the ground continues to drive many of our most adventurous experiments.
The Figure Ground Game, a multi-media, multi-disciplinary romp, draws upon animation, film, computer games and art to reaffirm and amplify architecture’s ongoing speculative contest with instantiated power staged on the ground. Not an exhibition, but rather a curated show The Figure Ground Game features the work of a half dozen architects, painters, a sculptor and more all related to one another by a desire to mine the tradition and history of figurality in the arts as it has been inflected in recent years by technology, media and the discourse of enfranchisement to think the consequences of the building-ground relationship a step or two further. Among the conjectures foregrounded in the show are new building postures, co-dependent structures, non-local contextualism, and perhaps most important of all an assertion of a desire to see comedy achieve an equivalent status to tragedy in architecture, as it has for centuries in all of the other arts to the profound increase in their powers and the resultant existential benefit to each and all of us.
The Architecturalists is like, a whole bunch of architects writers and artists for whom architecture plays a determining role to each in his or her own way. It has many, many members, though most are way behind in their dues. In keeping with our shared interests, most members are misanthropic loners, but some have formed cheerful subchapters, such as Caption Dust and his League of Happy Gentlepersons, Yellow 6, and the ReLaskerites. Some of the more famous members include Sylvia Lavin, Greg Lynn, Andrew Zago, Stan Allen, Jesse Reiser, Jose Oubrerie, Hernan Alonso Diaz, Florencia Pita, Heather Roberge, Eric Moss, Jeananne Garafolo and Philip S. Hoffman and the members of the Violent Femmes. Peter Zellner, Peter Trummer, and Peter Eisenman all want to join, but we worry about too many Peters. Oh yeah, and Wolf Prix and Patrick Shoemacher and Reiner Zettl. Elena Manferdini thinks we’re all cute but won’t have anything do to do with us, Nanako Umemoto doesn’t even think we’re cute. Collectively, we wish Renzo Piano and Keanu Reeves would retire.
For more information about The Architecturalists, Make it UP!! Its what we do.
(PS, that’s also our motto.)