London Art Reviews

Magazine of art press and reviews from London

Vernacular and Modern exhibition by Joachim Brohm, at the Grimaldi Gavin Gallery, London.

David Franchi – Monday, 29th December 2014.

Mies Model Study, BW V, 2013/2014 © Joachim Brohm, co. Grimaldi Gavin, London

Mies Model Study, BW V, 2013/2014 © Joachim Brohm, co. Grimaldi Gavin, London

‘Vernacular and Modern’ is an interesting solo exhibition by Joachim Brohm, at the Grimaldi Gavin Gallery, London. The work is a sort of documentary about a Mies van der Rohe project of German allotment buildings, dismissed because of the Great Depression, but realized in the late 1970s. Together with the new series Mies Model Study, an entirely re-edited series ‘Typology 1979’ by the artist is displayed in London for the first time.

The new solo exhibition at Grimaldi Gavin, London, develops the Joachim Brohm his ongoing concern with architectural structures and in particular with the relationship between architecture as an environment for recreation. Vernacular, in fact, is a kind of architecture concerned with domestic and functional rather than public or monumental buildings. This exhibition brings together and counterpoints a brand new body of work that explores the modernism of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe with Brohm’s series Typology.

The story about ‘Vernacular and Modern’ is that more than 80 years ago, Mies van der Rohe took part in a competition to design a club house for the newly founded Krefeld Golf Club. Due to the Great Depression however, the house was never built. In 2013, Mies’ design was finally put into practice under the artistic directorship of Belgian architect Paul Robbrecht at the planned site on the outskirts of Krefeld. The model was built according to the original plans as a walkable architecture model at a scale of 1:1, thus creating a highly exceptional architectural exhibition.

Joachim Brohm spent time photographing the temporary model during 2013, creating a body of work entitled Mies Model Study consisting of both colour and black and white images. Fascinated with the rough nature of some parts of the structure as a contemporary interpretation of the incomplete Mies sketches, Brohm’s images gracefully reference the aesthetic language of modernist architectural photography of the 20th century.

Brohm’s fully re-edited series Typology 1979 will now be shown in London for the first time together with the new series Mies Model Study.

Typology 1979 is the retrospective title Brohm gave to a series of photographs he took in 1979 while studying at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen and to a later monograph he published on the work. The series is devoted to recreational places and the activities of people living in the artist’s immediate area around the industrial Ruhr. Human presence is slight, even ethereal, as hardly any people can be spotted.

Joachim Brohm rose to prominence in the early 1980s as one of the first photographers in Europe to shoot exclusively in colour. From the late 1970s Brohm connected the visual possibilities of colour photography with a newly defined “everyday cultural landscape.” Major recent shows include Intractable and Untamed: Documentary Photography around 1979, Museum Ludwig, Cologne in 2014 and Re-Seeing the Permanent Collection: The Viewer’s Choice, Haggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee, WI, USA; Industrial Worlds. MAST Collection, Bologna, Italy; This Infinite World, curated by Paul Graham. Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Concrete – Photography and Architecture in 2013.

‘Vernacular and Modern’ exhibition, by Joachim Brohm, is ongoing until the 10th January 2014 at the Grimaldi Gavin Gallery, Mayfair, London.

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