…conceptual art @ Junya Ishigami’s ‘Architecture As Air’ exhibition at the Barbican

This is a unique architectural exhibition because the exhibit is neither a building nor the representation of a building. It is actually an exercise in architectural synthesis. Junya Ishigami
presents it as a structural experiment. By introducing a triangular grid of carbon fibre beams and columns of minuscule diameter, he attempts to create a structure made out of raindrops.
The fragile, almost ethereal creation that expands in Barbican’s Curve gallery, demonstrates the way a project unfolds and develops in an architect’s mind. What is particularly interesting, is that the goal is somewhat reversed. When most architects are accused of being visibly ambitious, this structure, is rather ambitious in humility.
Ishigami here, aims to contemplate on architecture, rather than to create space. This project has conceptual affinities with Gordon Matta-Clark’s work, obviously not by similarity of forms. Both artists manipulate architectural elements and methods, aiming to present new ways of looking at  architecture.
Still, this work should be praised more on its poetic qualities, rather than as an engineering achievement. To establish whether it materialises an architect’s need to be truly humble, we must
consider that for a Zen Buddhist attempting to excel in anything, even in humility, is considered a sign of being egocentric.

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