THE SMITHSONS - THE HOUSE OF THE FUTURE TO A HOUSE FOR TODAY
The Lighthouse Gallery, Glasgow, until Tue 31 Aug .00.
Alison and Peter Smithson were the husband and wife architectural partnership often credited with founding the 1900s British Pop Art movement. As members of the discussion group Team 10. they were never far from the heart of the debate on the future of modern architecture. They are best known for their "New Brutalisiii' -- that stark. austere branch of modernism that excites some and provokes disgust in others. Their Robin Hood Gardens social housing in London was Widely condemned. while their HunstanIOn School has provided a much-imitated model for modernist educational buildings.
Curated by Max Risselada. this touring exhibition focuses on the lesser—known side of the Smithsons' career — their designs for the home. They admired the architect Le Corbusier. but rejected his idea that the home should be “a machine for trying. believrng
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instead that it should Suit its location and the individual needs of the inhabitants. The show begins by examining the House of the Future — designed for the 1956 Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition — with no doorless rOOins. no sharp edges. and sliding doors that hid belongings and clutter. It also offers an indepth look at the Hexenhaus. a fairytale private home in a German forest. which the Smithsons worked on at various times between 1985 and 2000.
There are original sketches. working drawings and writings by the Smithsons. together with extensive photography and models. It showcases their many unrealised house designs. such as the Putaway House. designed around a central storage area. and the Bates House. an elevated Corbusier-esque home that was refused planning permission.
This is a logically organised. visually stimulating and colourful exhibition. and the generous space allocated has avoided that common and overwhelming feeling of not knowrng where to look first. (Anna Chambers)
I Anna Chambers is assistant editor of Prospect magazine
VIDEO. PHOTOGRAPHY, MUSIC EMMANUELLE ANTILLE ANGELS CAMP: FIRST SONGS CCA, Glasgow, Sat 7 Aug-Sun 26 Sep
Emmauelle Antille featured at the Swiss Pavilion in the 2003 Venice Biennale. Her work. Angels Camp, is a massive multimedia project. centring around a film in four parts exploring transitory states between childhood and adulthood; dreams and reality. Ruth Hedges asks the artist. whose show opens at CCA this month. to talk about her work.
How did the idea of Angels Camp develop?
It started when I went on holiday to California. For three weeks a friend and I were just driving all the time. We were constantly crossing landscape and people — Angels Camp is actually the name of a village there. Then when I came home I had the idea to do a project about the boundaries between dream and reality where yOu're floating and people are passing and at some point discovering each other. And so how did this start to take form?
I decided to do a film that would be over one year. with each season telling the story of one character.
One scenario is abOut two girls who are lost near a lake. squatting in a wooden cabin; it's the cabin of a friend of mine and in winter it's amazing because it's very melancholic. We shot the third episode in spring in a forest that was smashed by a tomado two years ago and in the fourth the characters start to cross over
You often refer to your childhood and memory - why is this important to you?
There's a lot of very wrld and hidden landscape that I know from when I was a child. I was really interested to reconnect. In my work I'm always interested in looking at the idea of family and the passing of teenagehood to adulthood.
Do you hope that people will see it in its complete form?
Oh no. it's a very big work. For me. that's why there are four stories — you can catch one of them and then you are into a certain atmosphere and you are carried by it or not or you hate it. but you have a piece of it. What I like very much — is it's a bit like when yOu're in the street and you catch a bit of conversation you don't know the beginning or the end.
The Modern Institute, Glasgow, 0...
Without wallowing in 'iconoclasm for beginners'. Mark Handforth bends the signs of Americana into neo-iconic art objects. Rather than romantic monuments to failed modernism (see the Glasgow art scene of the last five years or so). Handforth twists modernist monumentality into declamatory statements. punctuated with the highlights of the history of American art from Pollock to Flavin. through Johns and Oldenberg.
In America — where everything is bigger — the sculpture Left 2004. would look like a magical realist reject in a trailer park, where billboards. neon srgns and irony go to die. In Glasgow. this sculpture becomes something else. Some wrll like the reflective yellow surface of the work and confuse it with post-modern superficially deep content. Others will like its stark form (the Judd-like battle ship grey back of the piece) and confuse it with high minimalist formalism. Both are correct. because Handforth is generous.
Fire. 2004, licks at the wall like Dan Flavin's Monument to the Third Internationa/ installed by an arsonist aesthete. The colours of the gels that cover the fluorescent lights are strip bar hot — their reflection leaving a watery stain on the floor of the Modern Institute that the viewer can paddle in.
The Abstract Expressionist critic Clement Greenberg once said that he didn't like Duchamp's Fountain (the infamous upside down urinal) because it was 'too small'. Philosophers and lesser critics may well guffaw. but something rings true in Greenberg's whining aesthetic observation. Handforth's Volcano. 2004. may at first seem too small. especially next to Left and Fire. but the title acts like a magic formula making meaning and the candle wax/lava grow. We think of gothic shrines to teen favourites such as Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison. Maybe even 9/1 1 - minus the schmaltz and nationalist pomp. That said. it is formally weaker than the other works. It is more Serra lead splashes than Lambie gaffer-tape dashes. which is refreshing. but a little bit too nothing to be something big.
i) 12 Aug 2004 THE LIST 43