The CCA showcases a series of three consecutive exhibitions exploring the newly acquired archive of the Spanish architecture studio Ábalos & Herreros.
Conceived by the CCA as an innovative, ongoing investigation of an architectural archive, the three consecutive exhibitions explore the legacy of the Spanish architecture studio Ábalos & Herreros through the research and interpretations of guest curators OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen (Brussels), Juan José Castellón (Zurich) and SO-IL (New York).
This research and exhibition project is part of a broader strategy towards archives entitled “Out of the Box”, in which the CCA actively exposes its holdings to research and discovery, and unveils material to the public while the archive is still being catalogued.
The recently acquired archive, donated by the architects Iñaki Ábalos and Juan Herreros in 2012, represents not only their built works, but also their concerns beyond the traditional mandate of architecture which is manifest in their numerous curatorial projects, teaching activities and extensive writings. The three exhibitions will introduce new readings of the work of these contemporary architects, revealing the depth of their significance for architecture today.
The first exhibition in the series, revisits the work of the architects Ábalos & Herreros through their interests in new building techniques and mass-produced materials as means to achieve better energy efficiency, but also in the minimal architectural expression of the buildings, facades and building elements. The guest curators Kersten Geers and David Van Severen describe their work as “an exaggeration of architecture as industry, a conscious understanding of the fragile balance at the outer edge of worn-out modernism. Their modernism is reduced to a set of signifiers rescued from the debris of metropolitanism and post-formal architecture of the nineties: fucked-up pragmatism, a full economy of means.”
Included is a series of CAD drawings showing over thirty projects from the Ábalos & Herreros digital archive, so as to foreground the contrasting spatial qualities, subtleties, and differences of the varying “industrial” schemes which range in scale and use, from small sports – halls to skyscrapers, offices to universities. The exhibit also includes photographic slides used by the architects as referential material for their teaching, which will be displayed in a reproduction of a viewing device (tripod) referencing Ábalos & Herreros’ scenography for the Third Bienniale of Spanish Architecture (1995).
To reflect on the relationship to the physical archive, the installation also features a specific photographic commission titled Proofs of Relevance by invited artist Stefano Graziani highlighting selected objects from the archive. These physical documents are captured in their archival contexts and include sets of drawings in their original folio, crated models as well as textual material such as manuscript corrections to Ábalos & Herreros's Tower and Office and collages of the AH Houses or Tenerife (PIRS) structure. Stefano Graziani is a photographer, architect and co-founder of the architecture magazine San Rocco. He serves as a guest lecturer at the School of Architecture in Trieste. As a result of the exhibition project, his photographic series will gifted to the CCA Collection.