“tiravanija: it seems like one constant in all of your projects is that you’re building a landscape. huyghe: that’s true. i’ve never thought so much about that aspect, but you’re right. i’ve recently done a garden, a seascape, a museumscape. . . . and in all these places i start with a set of conditions. the entities that inhabit them are partly real and partly fictional, partly signs or symbols, but they are still living organisms, whether it be a human, an animal, or a plant.”

11/06/2012 § 3 Comments

top to bottom:
pierre huyghe, timekeeper (at the secession, vienna) (1999)
pierre huyghe, timekeeper (at the walker art center, minneapolis) (2009)
herzog and de meuron + ai wei wei, serpentine gallery pavilion  (2012)

 

pierre huyghe’s timekeeper relies on a simple action: sanding.  over time, as each successive layer thins and disappears under the potency of the sand papers grit a moment in time appears.  in 2009, huyghe installed the piece in the walker art center’s amazing exhibition, the quick and the dead.  despite the simplicity of the act and smallness of its presence, the piece is only a couple of inches in circumference, it causes a lot of wonder.  there is something beautiful and playful about the core sample and something just esoteric enough about the colors that you look and wonder.  you try to recall past visits. “was i here when the room was a deep burgundy?”

 

photography: daniel potilla  (2012)
herzog and de meuron + ai wei wei, serpentine gallery pavilion (2012)

 

and then there’s herzog and de meuron + ai wei wei’s recently completed serpentine pavilion conceived under a similar conceptual frame work, an excavation process aimed at revealing previous constructions.  unfortunately, applying paint is more akin to applying make-up, where as construction is closer to surgery (with medieval instruments).  when layer after layer of various surgical methods are juxtaposed in a swirling composition of lines, dots and swirls, the landscape becomes more reminiscent of a series of scars built on scars than a celebration of one great architects work on top of another great architects work.  whats more, the identity of all previous architects and builders effort is hidden under a soft layer of cork.  this landscape of wounds becomes a pleasant place to sit.

it’s this masking which i think might bother me on a conceptual level – though i really would like to experience the haptic qualities of the pavilion.  the architects speak of the project as if it were archaeology, however, they’ve plastered over the artifacts.  herzog and de meuron speak of dots, lines and arcs as the evidence of past pavilions impact on the landscape.  and yet these findings have no identifiable characteristics.  i want to know which project was the most sustainable or the most invasive.  further, the way in which this exact composition remains unclear.  the composition wasn’t brought about through the act of sanding.  it was edited.  i’m sure there are a series of models made of various options and potential outcomes.  eventually they came to the consensus on what would be the most effective option.  this is where huyghe’s timekeeper piece seems much more serendipitous and honest.  the findings are presented as is.  history isn’t being edited.  and the process is clear.

i say all this even though i’ll never get to visit the site.  based on previous visits to herzog and de meuron projects, i have no doubt it would be wonderful to visit this pavilion and to descend into the crypt-like space and lay on top of a cork bench staring up at a large flat blank anonymous expanse.

 

looking for a shaded place

a young hare

 

 

notes:

[title]     today’s title comes from an interview in interview magazine between pierre huyghe and rirkrit tiravanija found here.

[images]     more images of herzog and de meuron + ai wei wei’s pavilion maybe found on the various archdaily pages highlighting the project (here, here and here)

§ 3 Responses to “tiravanija: it seems like one constant in all of your projects is that you’re building a landscape. huyghe: that’s true. i’ve never thought so much about that aspect, but you’re right. i’ve recently done a garden, a seascape, a museumscape. . . . and in all these places i start with a set of conditions. the entities that inhabit them are partly real and partly fictional, partly signs or symbols, but they are still living organisms, whether it be a human, an animal, or a plant.”

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You are currently reading “tiravanija: it seems like one constant in all of your projects is that you’re building a landscape. huyghe: that’s true. i’ve never thought so much about that aspect, but you’re right. i’ve recently done a garden, a seascape, a museumscape. . . . and in all these places i start with a set of conditions. the entities that inhabit them are partly real and partly fictional, partly signs or symbols, but they are still living organisms, whether it be a human, an animal, or a plant.” at a young hare.

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