House Project Exhibition @H Project Space | Bangkok

On the 23rd August 2012, the particpants of The House Project celebrated the opening of the exhibition of works at the H Project Space, Bangkok, Thailand.

P R E S S   R E L E A S E 

‘If I was the Architect of a ‘Dream House’

The House Project uses representations — drawing, painting, photography, assemblage, 3D construction, objects and the moving image — to engage with an extraordinary house, which has been growing and collapsing over a period of eighteen years, on the ashes of a previous house.

The current house should not be judged as a failed house, nor as a pictur- esque, eccentric urban ruin; but as a singular, complex, tragic and (in some ways) exemplary work of the imagination. Not contrived as art works often are, and not as tasteful as ‘Art Brut’ tends to be, the house expresses its tragic existential situation through both its structure and its materiality. More ‘house of dreams’ than material house.

In The Poetics of Space Bachelard reminds us that ‘there exists for each one of us an oneiric house, a house of dream-memory, that is lost in the shadow of the real past… the crypt of the house where we were born in’. For most of us this imaginary house only exist in our minds, if we allow it to manifest itself at all…

Khun A., the owner, architect and builder of this house, is aware that, as it stands, his house is not suitable for living in (not ready, yet). But he has not given up. ‘Everything is under control’, he remarked, when he politely declined our offer of help.

Through our encounters with Khun A., and from engaging with his house, over a year, we noticed that, behind this fragile structure and complex geometry — and irrespective of its failure as a dwelling — the house could be

inspirational in an exemplary and humbling way: as the expression of a man’s life and resilience, of his memories and his aspirations, in symbolic form.

The fact that the process of building the house has lasted over a period of eighteen years (and is still on-going) suggests an extra-ordinary resilience on the part of Khun A., a feat that we do not feel we would be capable of. Modern Sisyphus — victim and hero ?

The 3D structure in the middle of the gallery does not attempt to represent the house but alludes to the challenge of creating permanence out of pure will and fantasy.

In Pattern Language Christopher Alexander suggests that, in architecture,

‘The most effective structure will be… a continuous structure, in which all members are rigidly connected in such a way that each member carries at least some part of the stresses caused by any pattern of loading’

This principle is violated by the house, at every step; for there, discontinuity and fragmentation are the norm. Ironically, it is fully realized in the common Thai ’fashee’ — reminiscent of the woven structures found in some African willow and mud houses and in the design of modern tents.

The inevitability of the house’s collapse is alluded to in a photomontage, various postcards and photographic records of our looking, echoed in three plastic and one woven ‘fashees’, transformed as architectural models.

The exhibition takes the form of a polylogue: a dialogue of many voices, set up and around an emblematic wooden structure, onto which footage of Khun A. is projected, and around which a variety of visual propositions crystallizes our individual concerns and approaches: postcards, drawings, etchings, photographs, paintings, assemblages, documentation and texts.

On the floor, a collection of drawers are scattered: with notes of our journey, proofs, fragments….

The exhibition invites you to enter the polylogue and leave your mark, in any way you see fit.

The House Project developed from staff research seminars led by visiting professor Gérard Mermoz at King Mongkut’s University, in July-August 2011.

The House Project is: Gérard Mermoz (lead artist and project curator), Associate Professor Nigel Power, who set up the scheme, participating artists: Michael Croft, Checksant Gangakate, Simon Labalestier, (Communication De- sign); Voraprada Vorantanachai and Akararat Songwattanayothin (students, Communication Design), David Murgala (Architecture).

Our grateful thanks go to King Mongkut’s University, who generously funded the project, to Brian Curtin curator of H Project Space and to H at Gallery H, who kindly gave hospitality to the House Project.

G.M. 22.08.2012

promotional flyer | The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

More information can be found at  The House Project Bangkok

The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

Opening Night | The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

© photographic postcards Simon Larbalestier | The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

© photographic postcards Simon Larbalestier | The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

© photographic postcards Simon Larbalestier | The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

© photographic postcards Simon Larbalestier | The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

© photographic postcards Simon Larbalestier | The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

© photographic postcards Simon Larbalestier | The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

© photographic postcards Simon Larbalestier | The House Project | H Project Space Bangkok

 

 

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This entry was posted in 35/1.4 Summilux, 50/1.4 Summilux, Bangkok, Exhibitions, Gear I Use, H Gallery, Leica M9, South East Asia, Thailand, The House Project by Simon Larbalestier. Bookmark the permalink.

About Simon Larbalestier

I graduated with a Master of Art degree from the Royal College of Art, London in 1987 and from my degree show I began my collaboration with the one of the worlds most influential designer Vaughan Oliver with the record label 4AD, and I have continued to do so for the last 25 years. We have worked together on many design projects in the last 25 years but perhaps the most critically acclaimed is the work we designed for the American rock band the Pixies who are credited with being a major influence on the alternative rock boom of the 1990s. The Pixies' legacy and popularity has grown in the years following their break-up in 1993, leading to sold-out world tours following their reunion in 2004. My photography has been a key factor in the success of their packaging which has resulted in two separate Grammy nominations. In 1989 I was profiled on BBC2's influential art British television arts magazine “The Late Show”. I was one of four British photographers featured which also included Paul Graham and Waldemar Januszczak. At this time my photographic studio was based in the rapidly developing London Docklands and I was shooting for blue chip clients like Olympia and York, Esso, Guinness and Asda (see Client list). My work has been exhibited and published internationally since 1985 and has received international critical acclaim. In 1993 I was commissioned by the publishers Mitchell Beazley to research, collate and write the book “The Art and Craft of Montage” (ISBN 1857320999). It has since sold out but had become a widely sourced reference book for students working with analogue imaging mediums before the rise of digital imaging software like Adobe Photoshop CS and Illustrator. I set up my first website in 1998 offering online print sales and image licensing. This online presence now includes a blog and many other web links to my extensive image archive. In 2009 Vaughan Oliver and I collaborated again on a limited edition box set re-issue of Pixies recordings, Minotaur, which included a 72-page book of new photography and graphics. At a time when print design was in serious decline due to the popularity of online publications, this was an unprecedented move in the design world. In April 2010, I joined Snap Galleries, located in Piccadilly, London, celebrating with a major Pixies Retrospective 1986-2009. This exhibition brought together, for the first time anywhere in the world, two distinct yet complementary bodies of work by me: historic studio based photographs that appeared on the Pixies record sleeves from the 1980s and 90ʼs, and new images created in Bangkok in 2008 specifically for the lavish Pixiesʼ box set project, Minotaur. I have been based in Bangkok, Thailand since 2001 teaching and developing my own personal photographic research and have built up a comprehensive and extensive South East Asian and Asian image library. This is now represented by the London photographic agency, Millennium Images, and the International agency, Alamy.

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