The Grid: a landscape of colonizing voids – Vazio S/A

The exhibition “Misunderstandings”, held jointly by Campo gallery (Rome) and Le FRAC Center (Orleans, France), was intended as an experiment on what should be a historical collection and how contemporary architectural practice can approach it.

To do so, twelve architects and artists were invited by curators Gianfranco Bombaci, Matteo Costanzo, Luca Galofaro and Davide Sacconi to make a project from a drawing chosen from the Le FRAC collection. Guided only by the conceptual and plastic power of the drawings, the interpretation was open to all “misunderstandings”, such as scientific errors and historical inadequacies, to embody creative and fertile narratives.

One of the twelve works that make up the show is our “The Grid”. We publish here parts of this four-meter long drawing, on show until January 13 in Campo and until April 2 in Le Frac Center. The sequence was made from a diptych provided by the curators in which we made interventions to create a “stiltet” landscape that corrupts the original design and celebrates incompleteness.

The following is an excerpt from the text we presented at the exhibition:

“The better futures of the existent city are in latent fields that simply need to be developed and enlarged. The “concrete palafittes” – a widespread architectural accident in Belo Horizonte and many other hilly cities in Brazil – are a corrupter of a well-known object – the grid – that clash against modernist architecture origins: it demystifies style to create an object that escapes and despises the pure morality and ethical uniformity of its creators.

“This system is an atrocious byproduct that, being devoid of intention and language, acts as such a grotesque caricature of the modernist grid capable of causing strangeness. And for us, this corruption, this trouvé system is loaded with hope, with change, events and freedom.

“Now, could these palafittes be regarded as an unusual phenomenon of international scope? As a caricature of themselves used in an insidious system that eventually becomes universal? Can this space, taken as residual and malefic, be exported to other finished architectures and invade stable buildings? The effect of this operation can be surprisingly positive as a mathematical operation: minus x minus = plus (as well as it risks operating only as a nostalgic revival of some notorious critiques of modernism).

“There is an expectant energy found only in incompleteness, in emptiness and in the ordinary that lies just around us. Assuming the ambitions of a universal multiplication, in this new scale the palafittes grid is applied to several buildings and has nothing to do with their original urban contexts. It not only complements, but also enhances found architectures we take as starting point for an addition: the whole architecture of the city is now imaginary  expectancies to be extended, thus fulfilling an unconscious intention of a return to a primitive state, under construction, in a state of becoming. The grid is inserted without any distinction: either in prosaic, emblematic, symbolic, ordinary buildings; on the periphery, in the center; here, there. (…)”


After two drawings by David Georges Emmerich;  with excerpts from Vasco Mourão’s “New York Skyline”

© Vazio S/A

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