The exhibition designers for our Beyond Bauhaus exhibition, the celebrated art and architecture studio Pezo von Ellrichshausen, have created a special print for RIBA’s series of limited editions. The print draws direct parallels to their rigid installation design in the gallery, using basic shapes in an abstracted pattern. Find out more about our Chile-Argentinian power couple, and the relationship between the exhibition design, their art practice and our new print, below.
Based in the southern Chilean city of Concepción, Pezo von Ellrichshausen established their practice in 2002. Alongside their architectural career, Sofia von Ellrichshausen and Mauricio Pezo, the duo behind the practice name, are known for their art practice. Often depicting perspectives of both abstracted and figurative architectural exteriors and axonometries, their artworks deploy a rich colour palette that sits in contrast to their built projects. The former is often developed as a series of repetitive patterns, exploring the idea of multiples, much like in the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennale where they exhibited no less than 729 framed watercolour studies, densely hung in a monumental grid on the wall.
They explain this duality as having a parallel approach to colour. In their paintings they tend to be more daring, using more saturated and contrasted colours. In their buildings they tend to be more discreet, with the natural expression of the material itself, to allow for the colours of life itself (of carpets, curtains, chairs, paintings, trees, flowers, etc.) to tint the spaces over time.
The exhibition design they have developed for Beyond Bauhaus – Modernism in Britain 1933–66 sees 13 monumental columns inhabit the gallery space. The RIBA Collections material, most of which are black and white photography or architectural drawings, is positioned inside the columns, viewed solely through holes in the shapes of the circle, the triangle and the square. The three geometric forms are the only visual reference points to the Bauhaus movement. Stepping into the gallery space generates a feeling of stepping into one of Pezo von Ellrichshausen’s paintings.
As repeated in the limited edition print, Pezo von Ellrichshausen selected orange, green and purple for the columns to offer a sensual experience. Three colours which seem to have nothing to do with the Bauhaus aesthetic and are so-called secondary colours, as opposed to the famous use of primary colours – red, blue and yellow – by the Bauhaus. Since orange, green and purple are the overlap between the primary colours, Pezo von Ellrichshausen read them as being of a more complex nature. It was a decision which implies the notion of influence, and of our relative distance to the Bauhaus. One might even read those colours as a form of ideological decay, a necessary transition to a more “impure” reality and of transferring their lessons to a new, foreign context.
The new edition ABC by Pezo von Ellrichshausen, an edition of 50, can be purchased online on RIBApix.com alongside other contemporary artworks by architects who have exhibited in the Architecture Gallery at RIBA.