The artistic intervention will turn the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion into a life-size mock-up and clad it with the same white material all over. On 8 November, the Pavilion will start to lose its materiality and gradually transform, on 16 November the intervention will open to the public, with the Pavilion completely white. At 1.30 pm, there will be a round table discussion with the project creators Anna and Eugeni Bach and the architects María Langarita and Carlos Quintáns based on the reflections of Juhani Pallasmaa. On 27 November, the intervention will close with a disassembly process.
“mies missing materiality”
November 8 – November 28, 2017
Mies van der Rohe Pavilion
Av. de Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 7, 08038 Barcelona
Fundació Mies van der Rohe periodically invites artists and architects to provoke new perspectives and thought through their interventions in the Pavilion, enhancing it as a space of inspiration and experimentation for the most innovative artistic and architectural production. Following SANAA, Jeff Wall, Ai Wei Wei, Enric Miralles, Andrés Jaque, Antoni Muntadas and others, this year the architects Anna and Eugeni Bach will take charge of transforming the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion with their project “mies missing materiality”.
8-11-2017 to 15-11-2017 dematerialisation
16-11-2017 opening with debate at 13:30h
16-11-2017 to 27-11-2017 pavilion dematerialised
27-11-2017 to 28-11-2017 disassembling proces
The renowned architect and academic Juhani Pallasmaa defined the intervention as “an extraordinary proposal that will evoke a lot of conversation: an exceptionally rich project in associations, memories, references and cross-references”.
On 8 November, the Pavilion will begin to lose its materiality and gradually turn into a mock-up through an assembly performance involving the placement of white vinyl. From a platform located on the Pavilion’s esplanade, visitors can watch the transformation process, which will culminate on 16 November, when it will be open to the public, completely in white. At 1.30 pm, the architects Anna and Eugeni Bach will talk about the importance of materiality with María Langarita (winner of the Emerging Architect special mention of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2013) and Carlos Quintáns (winner of a Golden Lion in the Biennale di Venezia 2016) at a round table discussion open to all.
On 27 November, the intervention will close by removing the white vinyl that will have covered the Mies van der Rohe for a few days, restoring the materiality that belongs to it. In the words of the authors:
“Dressing the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion to strip it of all materiality. This simple act turns the Pavilion into a 1:1 scale mock-up, a representation of itself that opens the door to multiple interpretations about aspects like the value of the original, the role of the white surface as an image of modernity and the importance of materiality in the perception of space.
The Pavilion in Barcelona upon which we act is a reconstruction, a replica so faithful to the original that it is often difficult to remember its true nature. A building that should have been temporary was immortalised first by the written account of the modern movement and later by its own reconstruction.
Turning the Pavilion into a mock-up, with all the surfaces restricted to the same material, as white as it is indeterminate, reveals the building’s representative role—both that of the original, as a national symbol, and that of the replica, by representing the former. For a time, the Pavilion will be the longest-standing 1:1 scale mock-up of the replica of the temporary pavilion in modern architecture. Removing all materiality from the Pavilion also raises other interpretations related to the historiography of 20th-century architecture.
The Pavilion in Barcelona was enthroned as an icon of modernity at the ‘Modern Architecture’ exhibition at the MoMA in New York in 1932. The exhibition catalogue presents various buildings by architects like Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Neutra, Wright, Oud, Gropius and others through a selection of photographs and critical essays in which Philip Johnson and Henry-Russell Hitchcock indicate the homogenising criteria for combining all the works through the same lens. These include the white surface as an emblem of a new architecture, which appears as one of the most insistent.
To provide the Pavilion in Barcelona with that homogenising whiteness means to endow it with one of the defining features of modern historiography (not of modernity). Yet at the same time, it also involves stripping the Pavilion of its materiality and its unique characteristics—specifically the one that erected it as an icon of the modern movement.
The installation turns this paradox into an experience. It helps visitors to consider these ideas and many more through their own experience in a pavilion that will lose all trace of its materiality for a few days to assume all its representative potential”.