EXHIBITION | HARRY SEIDLER: ARCHITECTURE, ART AND COLLABORATIVE DESIGN
Photos: Chema Llanos
On display from February 11th to April 6th, 2014.
The Museu da Casa Brasileira, an institution of the Secretary of State for Culture, presents an exhibition about the architect Harry Seidler (1923-2006), considered one of the precursors of modern 20th century Australian architecture. “Architecture, art and collaborative design” was a showcase itinerant, commemorating Seidler’s 90th birthday, which has already passed through Estonia, Bulgaria, Canada and the United States. The MCB was the first destination of the exhibition in South America, reinforcing the institution’s outstanding performance in the dissemination of architecture and its reference role in this segment.
Curated by Vladimir Belogolovsky and co-curated by Wilson Barbosa Neto, the show brought together originals, many of them made at the time of the projects, such as architectural models, drawings and sketches, in addition to models of Seidler’s sculptures, photographs, films and personal documents. The exhibition was divided into three modules: Sydney Houses; Sydney Towers; and Beyond Sydney, highlighting the architect’s famous projects in Australia and the main works developed by him outside the country. Especially for the passage through Brazil, documents and images about the proximity between Harry Seidler and Oscar Niemeyer were added, revealing the Brazilian influence in his work.
Check out some of the images published in the exhibition:
“The exhibition in Brazil takes a different look at the relationship between Harry Seidler and Oscar Niemeyer, not only when he was working in the country in the late 1940s, but also for his production throughout his career,” explains Wilson Barbosa Neto, architect who worked between 2009 and 2010 at Seidler’s Sydney office and who captured, from family collections, the extra materials that make up the show at MCB. “Niemeyer directly influenced Seidler’s architectural production, as can be seen on the mural of Casa Rose Seidler (1950), sculpted by the architect himself; on the double arch roof of Casa Williamson (Casa Iglu – 1951), which refers to the São Francisco de Assis da Pampulha church; and in more recent works such as Casa Berman (1999), in the flowing curvilinear language of construction. ”
“For a few months in 1948 I worked with Niemeyer and observed his creative process, which seemed similar to that of a painter or sculptor. Traces, intuitive gestures, ideas presented in a way that afflicts minds accustomed to rationalist projects. But the suspicion soon it disappears when later it is perceived how fundamentally unassailable is the inherent logic, the clarity and the structural and constructive plausibility of everything. Niemeyer’s talent is born, and it is a unique part of the Brazilian climate, spirit and imagination ”, highlighted Harry Seidler in a text 1994.
Check out records of the exhibition opening event:
Photos: Chema Llanos
Collaborative art and design
“As much as we need real things, the needs of spirit and sense need to be satisfied. Architecture is part of the realm of art as is technology; it is the fusion between thinking and feeling, ”said Harry Seidler in the 1960s. A fan of creative collaborations, he worked alongside personalities like architects Marcel Breuer and Oscar Niemeyer; engineer Pier Luigi Nervi; photographer Max Dupain; and artists Josef Albers, Alexander Calder, Norman Carlberg, Sol Lewitt, Charles Perry, Frank Stella and Lin Utzon.
“Seidler was not only active in the field of architecture, but also with everything that involves the process of architectural creation. He interacted with the disciplines of art, such as sculpture, as shown in the exhibition on models, drawings and sketches of works present in his constructions and which were directly influenced by him ”, reveals Wilson Barbosa Neto. “Other fields such as photography and design also interested him, so much so that he even designed chairs, kitchen utensils and bathroom china.”
“Beginning in 1970, Seidler’s hands were increasingly influenced by the modulated works of American abstract and expressionist painters and sculptors, evolving into a distinct personal artistic language that has yet to be recognized internationally. His most recent works, although free and sculptural, are never arbitrary. Its majestic geometric forms were perpetually defined by rational planning, by the efficiency of constructive standardization and by social and environmental aspects ”, concludes Vladimir Belogolovsky.
After São Paulo, “Architecture, art and collaborative design” was exhibited in Rio de Janeiro and Vitória, before arriving in Sydney and Vienna (Austria), where the exhibition’s itinerancy ended. At the MCB, there was a parallel program related to the exhibition, with special visits with the curators: on February 12, with Vladimir Belogolovsky, and March 19, with Wilson Barbosa Neto, check out he event records below:
Photos: Chema Llanos
About Harry Seidler
Harry Seidler (25 June 1923, Vienna – 9 March 2006, Sydney) was the first architect to fully express the Bauhaus principles in Australia, exemplified in his inaugural project, built in 1950 by his parents – The Rose Seidler House (Rose Seidler House) in Wahroonga, north of Sydney. Throughout his life, he was, in his own words, “avant-garde of modern architecture”, a missionary at heart for the modernist cause. Seidler left a unique mark in the world, notable, for example, in his Australian Embassy project in Paris, at the Hong Kong Club in central Hong Kong, in the residential condominium in Vienna Wohnpark Neue Donaularge, and, above all, through many of its characteristic towers, which defined the essence of contemporary Sydney.
A native of Vienna, Seidler was the second son of an upper-middle-class Jewish family. He studied at the Harvard School of Design, with professors like Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. Later, he went to Black Mountain College, in North Carolina, where he studied with the painter Josef Albers. Then, in New York, he worked as the first assistant to Marcel Breuer, his lifelong mentor and friend. In 1948, Seidler was invited by his mother to go to Australia, the country to which his parents immigrated after the war, to design a house for them. On his way to Australia, Seidler worked at Oscar Niemeyer’s office in Rio de Janeiro for a few months.
In September 1948, Seidler opened an office in Sydney. The ambitious 25-year-old man, in his small studio / apartment, made a prominent statement: “The current Australian construction offices are obsolete. They beg for renewal. It will be the policy of this firm to create standards that will produce progressive contemporary architecture.” The architect’s nearly 60-year productive career proved it right. Approximately 160 of his projects – from a small family home to apartment buildings, office towers to public and cultural spaces, as well as important government buildings – were carried out in Australia, Austria, France, Israel, Italy, Mexico and Hong Kong.
“Seidler’s unmistakable set of works, marked by the strong geometric perception, original of the Baroque, surrounded by the robust feeling of the balance of the compositions, the knowledge of structure and materials, in addition to the inventive use of shading elements that effectively acted on the intense Australian sun, distinguished him as being the most uncompromising and artistic architect in his adopted country and one of the most persevering and ingenious architects of his time. ” – Vladimir Belogolovsky.
Check out the media highlights:
Online and Printed
O Estado de S. Paulo | Arco Web Online | Casa Vogue Online | Lucilia Diniz Online | Folha de S. Paulo Online | Folha de S. Paulo | Folha de S. Paulo | Jornal da Comunidade VIP | Empresas e Negócios
Arte 1 (08.04.2014)
Globo News (21.02.2014)
About Wilson Barbosa Neto
Wilson Barbosa Neto is an architect graduated from the UNIVIX Faculty in Vitória. In 2009 and 2010 he worked at the architecture firm Harry Seidler & Associates, in Sydney, where he participated in the revitalization projects of the buildings MLC Center and 9 Castlereagh Street, in Sydney, Riverside Center and Riparian Plaza, in Brisbane. In 2013 he obtained a master’s degree in Architecture, Technology and the City at UNICAMP, in São Paulo. He is a professor at FAAL in Limeira and is currently co-curator of the exhibition on the life and work of the architect Harry Seidler that takes place in Brazil.
About Vladimir Belogolovsky
Vladimir Belogolovsky is an architect and founder of the New York-based Intercontinental Curatorial Project. Among his publications are: “Green House” (TATLIN, 2009), “Soviet Modernism 1955-1985” (Soviet Modernism) (TATLIN, 2010) and the most recent book on the life of Australian architect Harry Seidler: “LIFEWORK” (Rizzoli , 2014).
Sponsorship: Akzo Nobel
Support: Australian Embassy, LET – University of Brasilia and IAB-RJ
The Museum of the Brazilian House, an institution of the Secretariat of Culture and Creative Economy of the State of São Paulo, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2020, is dedicated to the preservation and diffusion of the material culture of the Brazilian house, being the only museum in the country specializing in architecture and design. The MCB’s program includes temporary and long-term exhibitions, with an agenda that also includes educational service activities, debates, lectures and publications contextualizing the museum’s vocation for the formation of critical thinking on topics such as architecture, urbanism, housing, economics creativity, urban mobility and sustainability. Among its numerous initiatives, the Design MCB Award stands out, the main segment award in the country held since 1986; and the Casas do Brasil project, to rescue and preserve memory about the rich diversity of living in the country.
Museu da Casa Brasileira
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