press release

Opening: October 25, 7:30pm

Curated by: Adélaïde de Caters and Rosa Ferré
Research Committee: Beatriz Colomina, Esther Fernández, Marie-Françoise Quignard

Boudoirs for men? A phalanstery community governed by passions? A multimedia sexual entertainment centre? An army of sex volunteers? Sex-spa thermal museums? Eco-contemporary follies?

Architecture as the organization of a space and setting makes up a substantial part of our sexual fantasies. Looking at the way western society has planned, built and imagined places for sex from the 18th century to the present day, the research has been motivated by an exploration of the million nuances comprised under the promise of “pleasure." It examines the power wielded by spaces as the driving forces of desire and shows how architecture has contributed to controlling behaviour and creating gender stereotypes in our patriarchal society.

1,000 m2 of desire presents some of the projects that have subverted traditional models and advocated utopias of sexual coexistence or private realms, “libertine” spaces of refuge, conceived entirely as settings for pleasure. It highlights the way certain periods of resistance to established norms have largely originated from informal architecture and the appropriation of places. It shows how architectural practice has been dominated by men until very recently and, as a result, spaces designed for pleasure have been imagined from male desires and fantasies.

Many of the spaces presented have only been imagined and built through language or the projected image. Drawings and architectural models, artworks, installations, films and other materials establish relationships that invite us to consider how sexualities are constructed in accordance with specific cultural codes subject to norms that govern bodies and discourses, and the nature of the space of desire and pleasure in our society. The exhibition considers our role as voyeurs when reading or looking at pornographic material and the way fictional spaces have typified and become part of our collective imagination.

When today’s sexual freedom is starting to be seen by many as sexual liberalisation, the question about how much time is set aside for sexual pleasure when our daily lives are monitored between the time for production and the time for consumption acquires a new dimension.

Under the banner of looking sexy (from the selfie to Instagram), the internet makes the laborious construction of the image of our private lives compulsory. In the 21st century, desire is now the desire of others and, in an increasingly obsessive manner, is inverted in the desire for recognition and competition over representation. Is the hypersexualisation of society, as it is represented by the media, substituting or sublimating actual sexual life?

Society seems to have plunged into a narcissistic depression in which the internet functions as a masturbatory machine. In the western context, in which permissiveness is no longer transgression but the norm, what role does architecture play in gratuitous bodily encounters, in reviving transgressive eroticism and re-eroticising social relationships?

Research publication: Adélaïde de Caters, Beatriz Colomina, Pol Esteve, Esther Fernández, Fulvio Ferrari, Rosa Ferré, Marie-Françoise Quignard, Ingo Niermann, Rem Koolhaas.

Participants: Bentham, Piranesi, Ledoux, Lequeu, Fourier, Sade, Restif de la Bretonne, Pierre Adrien Pâris, Vivant Denon, Bastide, Blondel, Adolf Loos, Schindler, Carlo Mollino, Ant Farm, John Lautner, Chrysalis, Wilhelm Reich, André Masson, Paul Delvaux, Guy Debord, Nicolas Schöffer, Verner Panton, Madelon Vriesendorp, Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura, Ettore Sottsass, Archigram, Haus-Rucker Co, Superstudio, Coop Himmelb(l)au, Rem Koolhaas, Douglas Darden, Bernard Tschumi, Kohei Yoshiyuki, Larry Sultan, Alessandro Guerriero, Jean-Didier Bergilez, ecoLogicStudio, Danli Wang, Pol Esteve, Marc Navarro, Ursula Biemann, Fito Conesa, Army of Love, Ingo Niermann, Alexa Karolinski, Ania Soliman, Yann Minh, Joan Morey, Johannes Wohnseifer, William Kentridge and others

In parallel to this exhibition, the CCCB will also present the lecture The Perversions of Modern Architecture: Everything you wanted to know about it but were afraid to ask by the architect and architecture historian Beatriz Colomina. Wednesday, October 26, 2016 at 6:30pm.