The exhibition at the Architecture Museum consists, on one hand, of objects that are a product of the architectural process, that is, part of the developing architecture, always referring to it and therefore never entirely autonomous.
However, these objects – models, drawings and plans – undergo a modification of their documentary, independent status by being brought together in such fashion that a new form emerges, a form that makes the essence of the architecture (a physical presence that is somewhere outside) tangible, enabling us to perceive the absent form as a mental construct.
The space for the exhibition of these objects is the building of the Architecture Museum in Basel, whose outstanding architectural quality is defined by the fragile, glass shell of the façade.
Silkscreens were printed on the glazing, each of them custom-made for the exhibition to match the size of the steel-framed windows of the building. They engage with the building and become part of it, not so much because of the actual, physical print but rather because of the potential of the cropped images to relate to their surroundings. Similarly, the images do not focus on the familiar perspectival rendition of real architecture, but rather on the intrinsic idea underlying these architectural realities.
We deliberately avoided the pitfall of an exhaustive representation of each project; straightforward, supposedly complete "legibility" (whose didactic value is questionable) was not our priority. We were more interested in connecting than in separating our projects, more interested in looking at them from a new vantage point and apprehending them in the larger context. Thus, the images and the white silkscreens on the glazing of the façade become an architectural work in their own right, so much so that they no longer need the architecture outside, although they are inconceivable without it.
A related approach in a different medium is demonstrated by Helmut Federle’s painting The Face (1982), on loan from the artist and on view in the architecturally defined space of the exhibition.
Herzog & de Meuron, 1988
Translation: Catherine Schelbert