AAJ Press
Architecture & Design, Art & Public Space, Art Projects, Commissions, Sculpture

Carmody Groake Architects: The October Issue at Louise Blouin Foundation / Frieze Art Fair Pavilions, 2011

The development and demise of public art largely resulted in parallel practices rather than collaboration. Iconic architecture and landmark sculptures were the norm – with some laudable exceptions. But as the funding and economics of public art commissioning emerges in an era without political strategies and support it is most often the architects who have the flexibility to work across both practices. Carmody Groarke is the London-based architectural studio established by Kevin Carmody and Andrew Groarke. Their practice crosses over between art and architecture with public projects include the Tsunami Memorial, 2004, at the Natural History Museum; and the 7 July Memorial, 2009, in Hyde Park, and a series of exhibition designs and pavilions developed with artists. The Double Club, 2008: was a collaboration with Carsten Holler and Fondazione Prada on a temporary art installation and pop-up bar within a Victorian warehouse in Islington, London.

The Fair Pavilions at Frieze Art Fair 2011 are a 20,000 sq.metre temporary series of interlinked pavilions surrounding the perimeter of the large exhibition tents in Regents Park, London. Architects for previous fairs include David Adjaye, Jamie Fobert and Caruso St John. These provide the public hospitality and VIP functions, located away from the exhibition spaces, and are characterised by timber-linedrooms that are arranged around the existing trees within the park. The project also includes a series of architectural installations within the main exhibition tents, based upon public squares and coloured, felt-lined rooms which provide spaces for resting and refreshment within.

The exhibition design for Postmodernism: Style & Subversion 1970 -1990 provides a series of dramatic and immersive spaces designed to show a diverse collection of over 250 exhibits of art, architecture, design, fashion, graphics, film, performance and video. Rather than recreate a stylistic parody of Postmodernism, the exhibition creates a framework for the key critical concepts that underpin postmodern theory and practice. The Surreal House, 2010 was a series of archetypal house forms in the Barbican Art Gallery to create an installation for the presentation of surrealist art, sculpture, film and architecture. The labyrinth of rooms created familiar as well as abstract associations of domestic space to challenge the visitor’s preconceived expectations of the existing gallery. Brioni 12,000 Stitches, 2010 was a centrepiece pavilion commissioned by Wallpaper* and Brioni within the courtyard of the Brioni house during the Salone del Mobile in the 2010 Milan Furniture Fair. Drawing Fashion, 2010 was an exhibition charting the work of fashion illustrators from the 1920s to the present day at The Design Museum.

Blind Light, 2007 was a collaboration with Artist Antony Gormley, and Techniker and BDSP, for a concept pavilion within his exhibition at the Hayward Gallery – a sensory room containing nothing but freezing cold, dense fog and fluorescent light at four times normal daylight. The challenge to the design team was todematerialise the glass-walled architectural envelope, instead emphasising the experience of being immersed in an impenetrable white mist.

The October Issue at Louise Blouin Foundation is a pop-up, pop art event: “An exhibition bringing to life the pages of the October issue of Modern Painters,” where, “The art magazine becomes art.“  The exhibition is a real-world actualization of the pages of Modern Painters presented in a gallery, with areas curated by writers, artworks by artists featured in the magazine and blowups of the advertisements. Carmody Groarke have divided the space into segments with black or white corrugated paper walls. Highlights include John Bock’s film Im Schatten der Made (In the Shadow of the Maggot), a twisted love story styled after 1920s German Expressionist films and recently premiered at Anton Kern Gallery, New York; a sculptural installation by Dutch artist Folkert de Jong; Matthew Collings’s Facebook Art School, featuring Jake and Dinos Chapman and a film of the making of Chris Burden’s Metropolis II, a massive kinetic sculpture that circulates a thousand-plus toy cars on an interminable loop. Exhibition:11 October – 12 November Images: The October Issue, Louise Blouin Foundation; Antony Gormley,Blind Light, 200 , Hayward Gallery; The Fair Pavilions, Frieze Art Fair 2011. Images courtesy of Carmaody Groake / Louise Blouin Foundation. http://www.carmodygroarke.com www.ltbfoundation.org

About jeh

Jeremy Hunt is Director of the AAJ Press (Art & Architecture Journal / Press) – a writer and consultant on art and public space


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