Aglaia Konrad

Das Haus (ausgestellt)

Das Haus (ausgestellt)
06.04.2014 > 15.06.2014

The oeuvre of the Brussels-based artist Aglaia Konrad (°1960 Salzburg) – comprising photos, films, spatial installations and publications – is characterised by a patent love of architecture. Fuelled by her fascination for the way models and ideas come to be materialised in the constructed world, she conducts her own unconventional visual research into the observation and experience of architecture.
Her new film, Das Haus, is a key work in a greater installation that, typically of her approach, has been designed specifically for the exhibition space. This work fits into her series of 16mm films, Concrete & Samples, in which Konrad investigates the sculptural potential of architecture and visualises the sublime and sensual experience of observing it. Das Haus was filmed in and around the Van Wassenhove house in Sint-Martens-Latem – an idiosyncratic, modernist design from 1974 by architect Juliaan Lampens. After the owner recently passed away, the house was gifted to the Department of Architecture & Urban Planning at the University of Ghent, which will be responsible for the further use and management of the former residential home. This transitional moment in the building’s history provides the ideal context for the filming of this unconventional house.

The specific qualities of the medium of film, and in particular the materiality and tactility of 16mm film, allow for the visualisation of the complex interplay of materiality, light, rhythm and movement. The lack of an established formula for an experience-based approach to the visual representation of architecture affords each new work by Konrad a new intensity and tension. The effect of this is constructive, given that the physical architecture in this case forms the unique schematic for the filming process. The compositions are determined by decoding the elements contained by this schematic: the floor plan, use of materials, of light, form, rhythm, etc. The compositions are always influenced by the movement of the recordings and the passing of time, the context and the current status of the building. As a result of this, the outcome of the work cannot be determined or predicted beforehand, which makes this an especially challenging way
of working.

An intensive period of on-location research and exploration precedes the actual filming. This is a fundamental phase of concentrated ‘thinking-by-looking’ in which the schematic is studied by the artist. The stylistic choice to use 16mm film is also part of this. The medium must be used economically, which further focuses the artist’s consideration of the experience of observation and the mental pre-selection of images.

Other conscious decisions include the omission of sound and the choice not to include any human presence in the film. This has the effect of making the architecture itself the sole protagonist. The lack of any distracting elements allows the immutable material of the architecture to act and move like a living character. The characterful Van Wassenhove house is notable for its striking concrete forms and its open-plan interior landscape spanning two levels. In the filmic representation of the observational experience we are presented with an extremely intimate picture of the radical choices and poetic gestures made by the architect. The boundless play of natural light and the use of materials in the building is strongly accentuated and brought into the exhibition space. The seating and the cylindrical forms that make up the spatial installation refer graciously to the creations of Juliaan Lampens and their sculptural potential.

Das Haus was produced by August Orts, in cooperation with Courtisane and with additional support from VAF, Netwerk / centre for contemporary art, UGent (Dept. of Architecture & Urban Planning, Dept. of Communication, Dept. of Services), LUCA Sint-Lukas Brussel, Juliaan Lampens Foundation, Fotohof Salzburg and the Province of East Flanders.

The scenography of the presentation was designed by the artist in collaboration with the architect Kris Kimpe.