Land Marks: Structures for a Poetic Universe

Land Marks is the first in a line of exhibitions supported by Drawing Matter. The show at Hauser & Wirth Somerset is the result of an exploration of the boundary between architecture and sculpture; a search for that space between the useful and the sublime in which architecture tries to find the structures for a poetic universe. The investigation, as these pictures show, goes down two paths; one of which looks outward, to the city and the land, and at the potential of architectural ideas to reveal the poetics of their setting; the other turns inward, to examine works of architecture that serve as containers of thought.

Adolfo Natalini, Sketch, 1969, DM 2083 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Adolfo Natalini (*1941), Sketch, 1969. Pen, ink and coloured crayons on paper, 750 × 250 mm.

Frank Lloyd Wright, Eaglefeather drawing, 1940, DM 1298 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959), Drawing for the 'Eaglefeather' estate for Arch Oboler in the Santa Monica Mountains, 1940. Graphite pencil and colour pencil on tracing paper, 559 × 900 mm.

The first path addresses the natural world and the garden, showing situations in which structures charge the space around the sites. Moving from Frank Lloyd Wright, who believed his task was to complete the work of nature, we proceed to Superstudio, whose imaginary projects intensify the awareness of nature's destructive and sublime properties and look for an order to set against it. We then turn to sites in the city where architects are either confronting the accretions of time, or reconciling the mix of prescriptive and random patterns that shape the urban form.

James_Stirling_Staatsgalerie.jpg – Drawing Matter

James Stirling (1926–1992), Sketch Plan, Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Germany, 1977. Pencil and pink crayon on tracing paper, 195 × 255 mm.

Aldo Rossi, Urban Fragment, 1977, DM 1799 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Aldo Rossi (1931–1997), Urban Fragment, 1977. Ink, oil crayon and felt pen on paper, 300 × 290 mm.

If shapes can so to their own edges keep,
No separation proves a being bad.

– From ‘Objects’ by W.H. Auden, 1958.

Superstudio, Infinite mirror model, 1959, DM 2093 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Superstudio (1966–1978), Infinite mirror model, 1969. Wood with plastic overlay and felt pen, 150 × 300 × 300 mm.

Louis Kahn, Sketch for Mural, 1951-53, DM 1382 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Louis Kahn (1901–1974), Sketch for a mural, 1951 – 1953. Ink on paper, 298 × 400 mm.

Modern architects have often been seduced by the notion that entire worlds could be built by repeating a single efficient universal shelter or by assembling a single repeated module into structures of great complexity. The second path within the exhibition includes these experiments. It also leads to spaces that shape knowledge or encourage us to transcend the everyday, from a nomadic capsule of communication through to globes that were intended, by Enlightenment rationalists, to house men of science.

Ugo La Pietra, La Cellula Abitativa design collage, 1972, DM 2238.1 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Ugo La Pietra (*1938), Design collage of La Cellula Abitativa, 1972. Cut and pasted silver gelatin print, pencil, black and blue ink on card, 280 × 360 mm.

John Hejduk, Drawing for Fabrication, 1972, DM 1808 IN SET – Drawing Matter

John Hejduk (1929–2000), Drawing related to 'Fabrication': aerial view of a long building, 1972. Black and coloured ink on paper, 85 × 273 mm.

Hermann Finsterlin, Study for playhouse, 1930, DM 1042 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Hermann Finsterlin (1887–1973), Study for a playhouse, c. 1913. Pencil and watercolour on paper, 470 × 320 mm.

21 MARCH – 21 JUNE 2015

Hauser & Wirth Somerset. Curators: Markus Lähteenmäki and Nicholas Olsberg. With thanks to Stephen Bann for the use of this subtitle, taken from his article, ‘Ian Hamilton-Finlay: The Structure of a Poetic Universe’.