21 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Mary Katrantzou for the Design Museum
Shad Thames, London SE1 2YD

Kally Ellis for McQueens at Claridges
Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1K 4HR

Victoria and Albert Museum
Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL

17 November 2012

Post Works lecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture

Matthew will be presenting a range of recent projects by his practice Post Works on Thursday 22 November at the Royal Ear Hospital.  The lecture starts at 6.30pm and former P.E.A.R. contributor Pablo Bronstein will be amongst the respondents...  Hopefully see you there!

12 November 2012

Made In (Guimaraes/Portugal)

Post Works (Matthew Butcher and Chryssanthi Perpatidou), in collaboration with artist Pablo Bronstein, have just won a competition to design a new washhouse for the city of Guimaraes in Portugal.  The competition formed part of the city's art and architecture programme as European Capital of Culture, 2012.  The design, responding to the 'Made In (Guimaraes/Portugal)' closed-call competition, presents a new, hybrid and satirical take on the washhouse typology commonly seen in northern Portugese towns.  Here are some of the drawings for the competition, and also some installation shots of the exhibition in Guimaraes where the competition designs are currently on display.

31 October 2012

Thomas Houseago

For his debut exhibition with Hauser and Wirth, Thomas Houseago filled the two vast galleries on Savile Row with equally monumental figures, relief wall panels and abstract, columnar lamps.  The monumentalism of his imposing figures, gathered together in the North Gallery and looming through the plate glass windows was, however, belied by their tender fragility.

Houseago works in traditional, low-grade materials including plaster, hemp, graphite and iron rebar before recasting in bronze. The structural components of his final works are left visible. The iron rebar which forms the skeleton of each figure can be seen through gaping wounds in its plaster skin and the artist's own handprint is visible in the shaping and carving of the sculpture's surface.  The performative act of Houseago's sculpting is emphasised and although the artist looks back to art history these figures deconstruct Renaissance sculptural form.  Their brute machismo is in decline.  

Thomas Houseago I'll be your sister
Hauser & Wirth London, Savile Row, North Gallery

Thomas Houseago Special Brew
Hauser & Wirth London, Savile Row, South Gallery

7 September - 27 October 2012

13 October 2012

A house to die in

Since 2011 the artist Bjarne Melgaard and the Norwegian architectural firm Snohetta have been exchanging drawings, models and documents as they work towards the realisation of a purpose-built house for the artist ‘to die in’.  The exhibition ‘Bjarne Melgaard: A House to Die In’ at the ICA in London brings together their paper architecture, along with cluttered but related ephemera from the artist’s studio, laying bare the details of their design process and also their unusual client/architect relationship.

Looming ominously over the lower gallery space is a 1:1 fa├žade of the proposed building, its angled black surfaces glowing red from within.  The model seems at once bestial and otherworldly, an alien space shuttle that has landed accidentally in a similarly distorted domestic setting, complete with rucked yellow carpet scrawled with purple heads.

Tables in this lower gallery space groan under the weight of further, smaller, models, reams of printed correspondence, Melgaard’s scribbled drawings and the aforementioned ephemera from his studio.  Most of this ephemera is related to tigers: a kitsch collection of objects, with plastic tigers seated alongside their cuddly counterparts, a purple velour tiger sleeping on a drawing of its cousin, and all blown by the wind of a monstrous tiger fan.

Whether this collection is evidence of research or obsessive compulsion it is clear that the tiger was the inspiration behind Melgaard’s original design for his house.  Snohetta’s architectural drawings, which here occupy the corridor of the ICA, overlooking the lower gallery, show how they sought to rationalise Melgaard’s drawings and clutter into propositions and models, abstracting the naturalistic form into a proposal for a building that more relates to their known practice. 

These rationalised drawings are hard to interpret, however, as they have, in-situ, been drawn over by Melgaard.  Through the process of exhibition, if not through the process of design, Snohetta are seemingly erased (or even scribbled out).  Their collaboration seems more destructive than productive and this violence is echoed in the upstairs gallery where paintings, which were begun by Melgaard and completed by a group of artists with little connection to the art world (and several of whom are in recovery or suffering from schizophrenia), are hung alongside their collaborative sculptures.  Melgaard professes to having been surprised that his initial drawings – principally self-portraits – were, for the most part, effaced by his collaborators, but this effacement seems to echo the situation downstairs.

There is a huge amount of energy contained in this exhibition, and much invention, but perhaps not any joy.  Just as Melgaard twists the logic to focus on dying in a house rather than living in it, there is no happy ending to be found here.  Whether the house will be built in its proposed site outside Oslo, also remains to be seen.

'Bjarne Melgaard: A House to Die In'
continues at the ICA, London until 18 November 

5 October 2012


As the new term kicks off and Michael Gove restates his belief that architects and their curvilinear thinking should stay away from school, here from the first ever issue of P.E.A.R. are some thoughts on the relation between teaching and practice.

21 September 2012

Saturday night in Essex

P.E.A.R. spent last Saturday evening in a field in Essex, perched on a straw bale, sipping red wine and watching as the temporary radio station 'Writtle Calling/2EmmaToc' was transformed into a stage for a varied programme of audio performance.

As dusk fell, Jenny Haxtell (of Writtle Singers) sang Puccini's 'Addio di Mimi', also sung by Dame Nellie Melba during her historic 1920 broadcast from the nearby Marconi Factory at Chelmsford.  The structure of the radio station, otherworldly, like a space ship that had lost its way in Essex, was redolent of history.  It was one of those tingly moments when the world feels wonderful and weird, and the evening continued to be filled with strange moments of beauty intermingled with oddness.  

Kevin Atherton's conversation with his younger self was a highlight; the younger and older self irritated and enlightened by each other in equal measure.  Their conversation was both introspective and universal, a strange kind of performative philosophy.

The live set by Clout! was a fitting finale.  The group danced around the tiny stage, as they each took their turn in the lime light, with a professionalism that belied their youth.  Formed in Southend-on-Sea and utilising a mix of traditional band instruments alongside analogue synthesizers and samplers, the band reinforced both the forward-looking structure and programming of Writtle Calling and its referencing of the past.

all images copyright Nick Cunard

14 September 2012

Writtle Calling / 2EmmaToc

'Writtle Calling / 2EmmaToc' is a temporary radio station by artist Melissa Appleton and architectural practice Post Works broadcasting from the Essex landscape all this week online at writtlecalling.co.uk.  The series of live broadcasts by artists, writers, musicians and scientists culminates with a live event on Saturday 15 September.

The radio structure is located near to the site of the original 2EmmaToc station, which broadcast from Writtle in 1922.  Transmitting under the call sign 2EmmaToc, the 1922 radio station broadcast live performances every Tuesday evening from an ex-army hut in the fields around the village.  2EmmaToc was the first regular UK radio station and is regarded as the birth of British broadcasting.

The 2012 radio structure takes its form from the original hut and agricultural vernaculars sampled from the local area.  Imagined as a ruin, the radio structure acts as a vehicle of content, broadcasting transmissions from the past, present and future.  Through the transmission of live performances, the physical limits of the radio structure are extended through the ephemera of radio waves.


For further information and a full schedule of broadcasts see: writtlecalling.co.uk

6 September 2012


Edwin Burdis’ second solo exhibition at Max Wigram Gallery opens tonight and continues the artist’s exploration into the relationship between sound, image and physical presence.  Inhabiting the gallery space will be a new series of painted works with robustly accentuated figures and heightened symbolic forms.  The poet Heather Phillipson has written a new text in response to these paintings, which has in turn inspired Burdis’ new sound work – available throughout the exhibition on vinyl record.  This creative association links narrative and visual imagery with sound, resulting in an operatic tension through which the paintings are elevated to the role of protagonist and the exhibition becomes a complex orchestration. 

MegaDairyPigFarm continues until the 29 September at
Max Wigram Gallery
106 New Bond Street
London, W1S 1DN

29 August 2012

Phantom railings

In a garden in Bloomsbury an interactive sound sculpture is using the movements of pedestrians to evoke the ghost of a lost iron fence.  The railings at Malet St Gardens were removed during the 1940s as part of a wartime initiative to democratize parks and gardens – and never reinstated.  Using sensor-based acoustic devices, the installation makes evident the absence of railings by creating a resemblance of the familiar sound produced by running a stick along an iron fence. 

Through enlivening the stumps of the railings, the project engages with a centuries-old debate about public space and accessibility.  It aims to bring these subjects into question, and to promote a critical awareness of the social and spatial history of the city in a way that is innovative, entertaining and accessible to all.

The project has been developed by public interventions, an interdisciplinary collective working at the Centre for Creative Collaboration (C4CC), University of London.  It will remain on site until the 14 October.

for more information: http://publicinterventions.org/