concepts : Hans Ulrich Obrist
On May 30th of 1968, during the press conference of the XIV Triennale di
Milano several hundreds of artists, intellectuals and architecture
professors from the Milan University stormed the Triennale area and occupied it
for the following 10 days. By the end of the occupation, this historical
exhibition of 1960s critical avant-garde architecture was almost completely
destroyed, turning the rooms of Archigram, Saul Bass, Georges Candilis, Aldo Van
Eyck, Arata Isozaki, Gyorgy Kepes, George Nelson, Peter and Alison Smithson
and Shad Woods to ruins. It never again opened to the public.
As Italian urbanist Stefano Boeri shows in his analysis of the Triennale
phenomenon, the unifying topic of the show was multitude; it was dedicated
to seeking an alternative to the massification of society in the concept of
participation in culture with a capacity to safeguard individuality.
Inspired by the theme of the greater number, the XIV Triennale had kept a
keen eye on the protest movement taking shape in Italy at the time, as
elsewhere. It was no accident that a section of the exhibition installed by
a group of young Florentine architects called UFO had been entirely focused
on May 1968 in Paris and on the protest movement in America. Despite this
fact, the exhibition planned by Giancarlo De Carlo with Marco Zanuso, Albe
Steiner and Alberto Rosselli had been destroyed. But since then, this invisible
exhibition--experienced and ravaged in the space of a few weeks by a
self-appointed mass of passionate scions and vandals—has become a focus
point of strong emotions and passions.
The reason underlying the choice of recreating Isozakis room for »Iconoclash«
is, on the one hand, because of its historical importance as one of the key
works of the history of experimental interdisciplinary exhibitions of the
1960s--a history that might otherwise fall into amnesia--and on the other
hand, because of its tight relation to the issues that we wanted to raise
through the exhibition »Iconoclash«.
If Isozaki didn't conceive an iconoclastic installation, it can surely be interpreted as a reflection on iconoclasm from a Japanese point of view. And rather than isolation,
interruption or segregation of images, his interdisciplinary installation
proposes new cascades of images, a new setup to multiply the possibilities
of vision by focusing on the Japanese »Ma«, i.e. on the in-between space of
images. By so doing Isozaki points towards the
very direction of this show: towards the idea that the issue is not between
a world of images and a world with no images but between the interrupted
flow of pictures and a cascade of them. Isozaki's 1968/2002 interdisciplinary installation proposes a negotiation of and between different elements, which frames a world beyond
the wars of images and the wars of disciplines and encourages the viewers
to look for other properties of images.
Hans Ulrich Obrist
The Swiss curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist is well known for the exhibitions he has organized internationally. After studying economics and politics he turned to contemporary art and has since gained wide acclaim for his extraordinary exhibitions, which often take place in spaces not previously used as exhibition venues. He curated exhibitions at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, at the Kunsthalle Wien, the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, the Serpentine Gallery in London, the PS1, etc.
Among his most important publications are:
World soup [Munich 1993], Delta X [Regensburg 1996], Unbuilt roads: 107 unrealized projects [Ostfildern 1997] Vito Acconci im Gespräch mit Hans-Ulrich Obrist, 1993;
Text: Schriften und Interviews / Gerhard Richter, [ed.], Frankfurt am Main 1993;
Félix González-Torres im Gespräch mit Hans-Ulrich Obrist, 1994;
Bertrand Lavier: Argo, [ed.] 1994;
Dara Birnbaum im Gespräch mit Hans-Ulrich Obrist, 1995;
Christian Boltanski im Gespräch mit Hans-Ulrich Obrist, 1995;
Annette Messager. Nos témoignages, 1995;
Lost day : 1972 / Gilbert & George [ed.] , Cologne 1996;
Laboratorium [with Barbara Vanderlinden [ed.s]], Antwerpen 1999.