artist / participant
Opening: February 28, 6–9pm
We’re delighted to announce the new Visiting Artist program at ETH Zurich’s Department of Architecture. A protagonist from the realm of art will produce an exhibition and simultaneously work with the architecture students. This spring, the first Visiting Artist, Christopher Williams, will be a guest throughout the upcoming semester at the school.
Opening on February 28, Christopher Williams’ monographic exhibition Supplements, Models, Prototypes showcases the strong but relatively quiet importance of exhibition architecture and design within a practice that has primarily involved the production and arrangement of photographic works. The exhibition presents a group of five exhibition walls from prior exhibitions.
These walls represent a range of wall types, from the highly articulated functioning model fabricated for modular use within a specific institutional framework (for example a fragment of a mobile wall system designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) for the Department of Photography at Art Institute of Chicago, which Williams has subsequently exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and Capitain Petzel, Berlin) to a beautifully realized provisional wall designed by the technician of the Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn (and also exhibited at Whitechapel, London, and Capitain Petzel, Berlin, and which represents the type of vernacular exhibition architecture most often associated with the exhibition of works by straight photographers such as Walker Evans and Aaron Siskind). Spanning this range, Williams’ collection, and this exhibition, articulate the space between idealized and theorized forms of exhibition design and the ad hoc pragmatism found within the vernacular of the craftsman whose practice is devoted to exhibition making.
Following a 2009 typological exhibition of mobile wall systems which were currently in use in the Rheinland in Germany, conceived at the Bonner Kunstverein in collaboration with the artist Mathias Poledna, this is the first exhibition of Williams’ work to focus exclusively on this central theme in his work. Working within the institutional memory of gta exhibitions, this display of walls, most of which come directly from the artists’ collection, will be supplemented by a sculpture by Peter Fischli and David Weiss directly related to the exhibition.
In May 2017, produced in dialogue with the concurrent exhibition at gta exhibitions, Christopher Williams will present his first theater production at Miller’s Theatre Zurich. Occupying the language of theatrical production, Williams, who has worked extensively with both studio photography and with modes of visual display, seeks to relax the boundaries between the different modes of constructing pro-visual spaces, so that the construction of the photographic image and the construction of a theatrical image are seen as analogous activities which inform each other, each acting upon the other to produce a new term.
The exhibition will be further explicated through a series of lectures, round-tables and student meetings within the Department of Architecture. The themes of exhibiting architecture, exhibition display and the fundamental question about the elements of architecture are immanent in the research of many chairs at the department.
About gta exhibitions gta exhibitions is part of the Institute of History and Theory of Architecture (gta) at ETH Zurich. The exhibition program serves as an interface between theory and practice, showcasing research and teaching in the Department of Architecture. The thematic field of architecture is extended through interdisciplinary approaches and critically reflected through an experimental approach to the medium of the exhibition.
gta exhibitions is curated by Fredi Fischli and Niels Olsen.
*Christopher Williams, Wall from the exhibition Mathias Poledna/Christopher Williams, Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn, 2009, exhibited in The Production Line of Happiness, Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2015. Mobile wall system designed and constructed by Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn plywood, metal, wood, and ink on PVC-free wallpaper, 350 x 350 x 57 cm. Courtesy Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn. Wallpaper printed and installed by Omni Colour, London.