Whether it is the shared experience of the built environment, the psychological and metaphorical aspects of theory and design, or the physical construction itself, the very qualities of architecture have inspired visual artists for centuries.
One thread that many artists have recently investigated is the creation of memory and its relationship to architecture. Cultural or individual memory, both real and imagined, has been explored in many of these works. With their commanding presence and sometimes troubled histories, buildings (and monuments) are mediators of the past and are, arguably, the strongest medium of our collective consciousness. Through built spaces, communities articulate ideologies, create social, race, ethnic and class relationships, construct histories and inform the unconscious. How does the past accumulate in built space and in what ways does this space shape our individual memory?
What of the past is an actual memory and what is a fantasy or our mis-remembering? How has architecture played a role in this process? Is memory the residue of the individual lives and interactions that shape architecture or is it that architecture imposes itself on our memory?
Inspired by the lower level gallery space in which the exhibition will be installed, Sites of Memory explores these intersections through an eclectic group of works in all media by a range of internationally respected artists including Bernd and Hila Becher, Nayland Blake, Amelie Chabannes, Rebecca Chamberlain, Eva Davidova, Lieven de Boeck, Terence Gower, Candida Höfer, Jonah Koppel, Dimitri Kozyrev, Rita McBride, Caoimhghin O'Fraithile, Thomas Ruff, Samuil Stoyanov, Darren Wardle, Jill Weber, and Rachel Whiteread. Sculptor Dave Eppley and sound artist Nina Waisman have created site-specific installations in response to the architecture and history of the building in which the gallery is located. The exhibition is curated by William Stover in collaboration with Stephan Stoyanov.
The exhibition will also showcase MLAB (Mobile Literacy Arts Bus), a 1984 recreational vehicle that was transformed into a space for alternative educational and cultural programming by the Social Sculpture class at Syracuse University, taught and founded by artist Marion Wilson. Comprised of art & architecture students, the class created a mobile classroom, digital photo lab, recording studio, gallery space, and community center. MLAB will be temporarily installed in front of the gallery and will serve as an extension of the exhibition. MLAB embodies the concept of liminality: dissolving boundaries between what was (history) and what is possible (present/future).