Architectures and cities are both volumes and images alike. We experience them directly, physically and sensually, as well as through pictures. Pictures speak a language of their own. They offer a discourse that is quite unlike the physical experience of architecture. They transform volume into surface; distil matter into forms and signs – rarely, if ever, leaving it as it is. That is probably why so many architects try to get involved in determining the image of their buildings. The classic architectural photographer is their instrument, following their instructions, photographing the building at the zero hour as soon as it has been completed, cleaned and prepared – before any signs of use emerge, and before the building is occupied and transformed through use.
Concrete – Photography and Architecture seeks to approach the singular and complex relationship between architecture and photography in light-hearted, narrative and dialectical ways. The exhibition explores issues of history and ideology, as well as the specifics of form and material, in the photographic image. The visual appeal of destroyed or dilapidated buildings is also addressed, as are their powerful demonstrations of power and exclusivity, fragility and beauty. To what extent does photography influence not only the way architecture is perceived, but also the way it is designed? How does an image bring architecture to life, and at what point does it become uncanny? How do settlements develop into cities? Or, in sociological terms: how do work and life interconnect differently in, say, Zurich and Winterthur, as opposed to, say, Calcutta? And how do skyscrapers and living spaces translate into the flat, two-dimensional world of photography?
The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive catalog published by Scheidegger&Spiess.
Main sponsors: Vontobel Stiftung, Lotteriefonds Kanton Zürich.
Further generous support comes from Stadt Winterthur and Ars Rhenia Stiftung.