Alter///scrinium. 10 Theses Of The Architecture. Exhibition Part 2011
Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle. Always After (The Glass House)
  • Director: Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle

    Born in 1961 in Madrid. Lives and works in Chicago.

    Selected personal exhibition:
    2011 — Phantom Truck + Always After (The Glass House) — The Power Plant, Toronto, ON
    2006 — Inigo Manglano-Ovalle: Blinking out of Existance — Rochester Art Center, Rochester, MN
    2002 — Mies in America — Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA), Chicago, IL

    Selected group exhibition:
    2010 — Yesterday’s Tomorrows — Musée d´art contemporain de Montréal, Montreal, QC
    2007 — Documenta 12 — Documenta, Kassel
    2004 — Liverpool Biennial 2004 — Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art, Liverpool (England)

2006,  10 min.
Alter///scrinium. 10 Theses Of The Architecture. Exhibition Part

Courtesy by Artist

In 1939 being at high point of his career Mies van der Rohe, an American/German architect, received an order for Illinois University of Technology campus buildings. The project was based on a theoretic model with a certain concept of making the whole ensemble united via volumes unification and using an accurate proportions scale. The undeniable masterpiece of the campus buildings was the Crown Hall, an Architecture School with perfect representation of so called “Open Space” principles that had been used by the author in construction of a legendary international exhibition pavilion in Barcelona in 1929. The idea of spaces elegantly flowing into one another where walls are just defining the direction of movement, refers to a certain type of architectural understanding, where a person finds himself in a space with minimal limitations and is free to use it as creatively as possible. The Crown Hall building made of steel and glass became a literal picture of Mies van der Rohe’s ideas representing modernist architecture ideal with its declarative rationalism and absolute aesthetics without any compromise.

Always After (The Glass House) movie is shot by the artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle at the ceremony devoted to the Crown Hall reconstruction in 2005. The event was organized with a special theatricality, so wide-spread in modern times, in the end of which the heir of the famous architect crashed one of the huge windows of the building. This melancholic video filled with implicit meditation consists of thoroughly connected series of shots where janitors remove shattered glass. With intention not to show their faces the artist defines his cinematographic narration as very aestheti- sized fixation of a crime scene, a space having its memory of something important that has been lost forever. There is only a bunch of signs that are traces of the past, and in this case a routine fact of a planned destruction gets almost unlimited space for interpretation.

Manglano-Ovalle focuses his attention on the openness through studying certain type of architectural concepts referring to utopian project of a new social structure. For instance, the artist refers to an unfinished movie of Sergei Eisenshtein based of Eugeniy Zamyatin’s novel We, where architecture takes a special place. In terms of classic anti-utopias the totalitarian world story where each citizen is under supervision tells about a successful attempt to create a new modification of a person who has no right for fundamental, psychological necessity of solitude. Any intimate acts, total transparency of living processes are rejected by Zamyatin very easily; the city of future consists of glass houses that allow people watch each other’s actions all the time, thus, turning them into a united, homogeneous body.

Created aesthetic distance of the research object that is modernist architecture, reveals al modern controversies, so evident in the architectural field. Manglano-Ovalle questions a whole range of key controversial phenomena of modern world — from fulfillment impossibility, yet virtual necessity of utopian projects to radical transformation of modernist project; from non-stop control system penetrating all social structures to human striving to be involved into public processes, sometimes sacrificing his or her own privacy.