Exhibition: "A gaze into architecture -Phases of Contemporary Photography and Architecture-"
Japanese photography of architecture has played a major part in helping to move photography as a discipline out of its own semidetached enclave and into the palaces of high art. The current exhibition at Archi-Depot, “A Gaze into Architecture: Phases of Contemporary Photography and Architecture” features the work of 13 artists, of whom more than half are Japanese. All the work is exceptional.
With limited space, the exhibition only has a few works by each artist, and the curatorial direction is more aimed at showing different ways of seeing. Accordingly, there is a provocative contrast of the restrained and formal with the experimental and experiential. At the formal end of the scale are, for example, images by Candida Hofer and Naoya Hatakeyama, whose precision and sense of ordered composition are intensely gratifying.
Hofer’s images of famed architects Herzog & de Meuron’s 2017 Elbphilharmonie Hamburg building are, characteristically, both literal and contemplative about what the building may represent in the greater scheme of human cultural activity. Hatakeyama’s black-and-white images of experimental collective housing in Montreal designed by Moshe Safdie for Canada’s Expo 67 sympathetically show off the controlled complexity and rhythm of the architect’s vision.
Other works on show take a more tangential approach to expressing the experience of architecture. Conceptual artist Mario Garcia Torres’ series on fellow Mexican Luis Barragan’s house and study does not feature the building at all, but juxtaposes recipes of some of Barragan’s favorite dishes with pictures of the garden of Casa Luis Barragan. This oblique homage to the architect hints at his rejection of international modernism and a return to regional values.
Admission is pricey, but also includes being able to view the concurrent exhibition of architectural models “Unbuilt: Lost or Suspended.” Still, it’s a shame that more works could not have been included to give each artist greater representation, but Homma’s video alone provides plenty to consider in respect of the relationship between nature and artifice.