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Bas Princen, Image and Architecture, Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein

Bas Princen: Exhibition at Vitra Design Museum Gallery

Classic architecture photos concentrate on the depiction of buildings. However, the Bas Princen photos on exhibition encounter public space from a different viewpoint. Princen focuses on individual peculiarities in our built environment.
From the Karnak Tempel to the Vanna Venturi House, he has photographed icons of architectural history from different epochs. Other photos in the exhibition show the relationship between architecture and image in the history of photography. For example, there is a photo of the Crystal Palace, taken by Philip Henry Delamotte in the 19th century. Delamotte counts among the first photographers who dedicated themselves to the documentation of public infrastructure. With his own depiction, Bas Princen reveals the complex construction of the iron trellis. Moreover, he succeeds in giving the photo a certain optical depth. During his observations, Princen determined that two-dimensional depictions have always been a significant component of architecture. An example is the series of 12 tapestries created by the artist Bramantino in the 16th century. These elaborately woven pictures show the passing of a year and serve to ornament the Sala della Balla at Castello Sforzesco in Milan. In his work the Dutch photographer, architect and industrial designer sets the spatial and material characteristics of built structures at centre stage. With his special form of depiction, he manages to blur the borders between architecture and photography. He draws our attention to seldom-perceived traits of our environment and opens up new perspectives to viewers. All the photos presented in the exhibition were printed in a large scale on Japanese rice paper. The composition of the paper’s surface means that the pictures become three-dimensional objects.

With the aim of documenting the constant changes in our environment, Bas Princen develops our awareness of the increase in the rate building and resulting encroachment onto natural areas. His unconventional view provides an ironic commentary on our living space.

Along with the Kersten Geers David Van Severen architecture studio, Princen was distinguished with the Silver Lion in 2010 at the 12th Architecture Biennale in Venice.
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