Is architecture art?
Well this is what the Royal Academy in London have recently challenged within the comfort of a very grand and lavish white and gold cube.
As soon as you walk into the exhibition, you are greeted with a quite futuristic communal “sharing centre”, where viewers can not only gain greater information on all “artists” but also voice their opinions. This leads to a wonderfully adventurous maze where bare minimalist structures change the space, each with their own personalities.
Each room is presented with a large font quote on the walls, making the viewer consider how we interact and view architecture. Each quote is related to each specific work.
There were several works that stood out for me but one was Diébédo Francis Kéré’s piece, which starting off is a bottle neck tunnel that leads the vistors from one room to the next. This tunnel, created from honeycomb structured plastic was a creative blank canvas for visitors to recreate the space with giant straw (provided). Smooth waves and geometric shapes fill both the inside and outside of the tunnel. Placed inside were loungers, which were intended by the artist for visitors relaxational use. However, visitors obviously had a different idea. This transformation both of the loungers and the space, shows how influential the visitors can be, both as a whole but more directly, their influence on transforming the space.
As a visitor to the space, I was excited to attend one of their many programmed event. Event title: Speed Conversations. Yes, Speed Conversations. The best way I can describe it as is a mixture of speed dating and treasure hunts. Once greated into the exhibition with a glass of wine, the visitors were released to venture through the environments. Staffs who were involved in the making of the exhibition, were hidden (and sometimes not so hidden) around the works. If they were free, you had 3 minutes to chat and ask what ever questions you wanted.
This was an awesome event, that realy helped me as a visitor delve more into the work, but as a curator, helped me understand how the show was put together. This show in total was an amazing step forward in both the architecture world and the art world. Being able to merge both worlds is an achievement and should be highlighted.