Paul Robbrecht

By Rosemary Willink

Watercolour is not the traditional medium one associates with architectural plans, particularly those that are realised in built form. I believe this is what caught my eye while searching for a drawing by Walter Pichler and instead discovered a portfolio of drawings by Paul Robbrecht. Aue Paviljoenen project B depicts an idea for a temporary pavilion to display works of art for the once-every-five-years exhibition known as Documenta.

Paul Robbrecht (1950), Aue Paviljoenen: project B, Kassel, Germany, 1992. Ink and watercolour on paper, 297 × 405 mm. DMC 2731.7.

It seems these parallel streaks in blue – some steady, some fading – were rapidly put to page so that we might make sense of the faceless figures standing apart in postures of contemplation. What are they looking at? Or perhaps they are only an afterthought? Inserted to give meaning to the architecture which here, even in watercolour, powerfully frames the pictorial space.

Paul Robbrecht (1950), Aue Paviljoenen, project B, Kassel, Germany, 1992. Ink and watercolour on paper, 297 × 405 mm. DMC 2731.6.

There is something about the lines, the placement and even the palette that remind me of Anthony Gormley’s Another Place (1997). His idea was ‘to test time and tide, stillness and movement…’ through the gradual corrosion of several solid cast iron body-forms installed along Crosby Beach, outside of Liverpool, UK. Like Gormley’s work, Robbrecht’s points to ‘another place’, an idea where time and tide, stillness and movement coexist in an architecture for experiencing art.