The Menil Collection, Mar 19 – Jun 27, 2004
At first glance, Luisa Lambri’s photographs of architectural interiors might seem to offer yet another example of the austere, depopulated spaces found in much of today’s photo-based work. They are, however, eminently different in both conception and execution, deeply personal and ethereal rather than impartial and concrete. Lambri’s work is suffused with a delicacy and intimacy that is diametrically opposed to the stark realism found in the works of, for example, Thomas Ruff or Candida Hofer. Since Lambri initiated what has become a sustained engagement with architecture and photography in 1997, she has endeavored to strike a subtle balance between objectivity and subjectivity, creating interpretations of spaces rather than documents of them; in the process the artist elicits something minimal, abstract, and nonspecific. Her work is imprinted by memory and desire.
LUISA LAMBRI: LOCATIONS organized by The Menil Collection’s chief curator Matthew Drutt and presented in conjunction with Fotofest 2004-is the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the U.S., presenting 34 of Lambri’s photographs. “Luisa Lambri is an artist whose work is immersed in a resolutely personal search for identity through vestiges of memories or experiences of architectural spaces,” said Drutt. “Her photographs are deeply contemplative, radiating silence, beauty, and a sense of tranquility. We are pleased to honor her extraordinary vision and creativity.”
Born in Como, Italy, in 1969, Lambri , who now resides in Berlin and Milan, never attended art school, instead studying languages and literature at universities in Milan and Bologna. She began to take pictures while traveling, and soon discovered an affinity for the geometrically simple voids of modernist architecture. In her work with these spare interiors, Lambri developed an infatuation with architecture, memory, and perception, exploring through photographs how these celebrated spaces provoke a broad range of emotional, visceral, and intellectual responses that are often separate from the buildings’ august historical position. Her inventory of projects has grown to include Le Corbusier’s apartment blocks in Chandigarh, India; Alvar Aalto’s Finlandia Hall in Helsinki; and Mies van der Rohe’s Villa Tugendhat in Brno, Czech Republic.
The Menil Collection commissioned Lambri to photograph John and Dominique de Menil’s Houston residence, a Modernist landmark designed by Philip Johnson in 1951. Fourteen photographs of Menil House will be presented along with a selection of other works from the artist’s previously unpublished projects, including Richard Neutra’s Strathmore Apartments in Los Angeles and Oscar Niemeyer’s Casa das Canoasand Banco Boavista in Rio di Janiero and Palacio dos Arcos in Brasilia.
LUISA LAMBRI: LOCATIONS will be accompanied by a fully illustrated exhibition catalogue, with an essay by Sao Paulo-based curator and writer Adriano Pedrosa, and an essay and an interview with the artist by Matthew Drutt.