Artists Céline Condorelli, Leonor Antunes, Manuel Raeder & Mariana Castillo Deball, Mike Cooter, Wendelien van Oldenborgh
Venue Stroom Den Haag
Photography Eric De Vries, courtesy Stroom Den Haag
Lina Bo Bardi is best known for a number of striking buildings in Brazil, like Museu de Arte de São Paolo (MASP), SESC Fábrica da Pompéia and Casa de Vidro. In her architecture designs she was not primarily interested in form, but more in the way her buildings were used. She saw people as the leading players in a space, bringing her ideas to life. But Bo Bardi designed so much more, from exhibitions, chairs and magazines to stage sets, jewellery and sandwiches. She wrote about architecture, initiated a number of magazines on architecture which she also designed, she worked as a teacher and she designed two churches, various houses and two theaters. She was a museum director in Salvador in the Northeast of Brazil, where she also worked on a series of renovations and developed a strong belief in the everyday creativity of ‘ordinary’ Brazilians. She was politically and socially engaged, she dedicated herself to making the ‘poor’ culture of the Brazilian Northeast visible, and she actively propagated her belief in the social responsibility of the architect.
The only time a survey of Bo Bardi’s work was on view in The Netherlands was in 1995 at the TU Delft, a presentation initiated by the architect Aldo van Eyck. Van Eyck praised Bo Bardi’s “uncompromising – simultaneous – solidarity with people, art and architecture”, and the manner in which she staged the way people could use and occupy her buildings, creating a different interaction. In honour of her 100th birthday there were a number of international exhibitions in 2014 and 2015, mostly focusing on her architectural practice.
The exhibition at Stroom does not focus on the buildings Bo Bardi made, but rather on the way she achieved these results. We present the ideas behind her buildings, texts, exhibitions and productions. We do this not only by showing her own work, but also by inviting artists who approach her work in an interesting and innovative way.
Wendelien van Oldenborgh will show Lina Bo Bardi: The Didactic Room, a work commissioned by the Van Abbemuseum in 2010, inspired by Bo Bardi’s crystal easels, a revolutionary exhibition design for the MASP. At Stroom the crystal easels of Van Oldenborgh will be shown with collages of Bo Bardi’s work made by her and Grant Watson, and with artworks on loan from private collectors (mostly from The Hague)..
Céline Condorelli presents a new work after an exhibition design by Bo Bardi from 1970: a wooden grid structure carrying plants that are inextricably linked to the colonial, social and economic development of Brazil: sugar, cotton, rubber, coffee, cocoa and tobacco. On this structure (reproductions of) drawings by Bo Bardi will be shown on a weekly basis.
Leonor Antunes shows one of her Lina sculptures, made of brass wire and brass tubes. The piece comprises a 1:1 reproduction of the parquet floor that Bo Bardi used for the back part of Casa de Vidro, the house Bo Bardi built for herself. What is two-dimensional in the house, in Antunes’ work get the three-dimensionality of a sculpture.
Mike Cooter contributes a concrete ‘stage’ to the exhibition; a reflection of the cloud-shaped, anthropomorphic window holes Bo Bardi introduced. Cooter sees his ‘stage’ as a monument to her attention for the social and her organic interventions in rigid systems.
Mariana Castillo Deball and Manuel Raeder are inspired by the drawings Bo Bardi’s made for her buildings. The colourful and playful sketches are in sharp contrast to conventional architectural drawings with their mathematical precision and architectural details. They contain an atmosphere, trees, plants, animals and insects, and instructions for different functions. Deball and Raeder designed a number of animal-shaped seating sculptures, built in paper mache by a local artist. They are a statement for craftsmanship versus mass production.