K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf
June 2007 – September 2008
Kerto, plywood, stainless steel, vinyl, plastic, latex paint
100 modular components, arrangement variable
A modular pavilion as sculpture that also played host to an evolving selection of artworks and situations.
As an integral part of the exhibition, the pavilion was taken down and reconstructed every six or seven weeks for the duration of the show, each time making gradual progress around K21’s top floor atrium. K21 curators, administrators, technicians and artists took turns inventing configurations for the structure and choosing what art works, if any, would be on display ‘inside’ the pavilion, if in fact there was an inside to it at all.
Moves where scheduled on Saturdays during regular museum hours and were publicized events. An elegant and practical conflation occurred at these moments. The pavilion, normally a site that housed people and artworks, fell apart and became the ‘lead actor’ instead: dynamic parts following a script, conversing and rearranging, the centers of attention.
It was a particularly ingenious aspect of the Thingsthatfall Pavilion that it could be partially disassembled and remain standing at the same time. Most examples of portable or modular architecture – tents, trade fair booth systems, commercial kiosks, modular or ‘kit’ houses, even Buckminster Fuller’s famous geodesic dome – have an ultimate moment when they become fixed, secured into place in one predetermined form that will be its form forever. The Thingsthatfall Pavilion does not have to be completely assembled in order to be functional and secure, nor does it have an ultimate fixed form. Rather, a section of wall or ceiling of floor can be removed and reattached to other areas of the pavilion, all the while that the partial structure remained standing.
Whether anyone wants architecture to be more flexible or “insecure” in this way remains to be seen — but it’s provocative to think about. Imagine living in a modest one-storey house and deciding that you don’t want the living room here, you want it over there. Or that your study is in the wrong place, it’s too near to the noise of the telelvision, but instead of moving the television you move the study! You and another person, armed with a 10-foot step ladder and a massive wrench, could detach the study from that side of the house and re-attach it to another — and while you were doing it none of the rest of your house would fall down. Starfish architecture. Soap suds architecture. Diversified portfolio architecture.
Many Thanks To:
Kim Soo Ja