Series of Works
2012 to 2013
The Miller House – and a Slice of Cake – or – Life Shortly Before Disaster, 2012 and the series Giostra, 2013
Text: Maja Weyermann, taken from documentation, 2013
Images are genuinely social, not only because they are created in a given social context, but also because this very context could not be constituted without the production of images. The production, image/media and perception are therefore closely intertwined.
Maja Weyermann addresses this complexity in computer-generated “interiors” revolving around the social construction of spaces through categories of perception.
Weyermann’s latest series The Miller House – and a Slice of Cake – or – Life Shortly Before Disaster is an extension of previous work such as Absence (2000) and FWH 2 (Farnsworth House 2, 2004), as well as of her concern with spaces of cultural memory.1
In her Giostra series,2 Maja Weyermann concentrates on the relationship between the way these spaces originate and how they become established in the collective memory. The artist focuses on a single exhibition space, complementing her earlier series featuring artists’ studios, (Atelier 1999, Taller 1 and Taller 2, 2004). Thus she juxtaposes intimacy with the public sphere, creation with representation, and conception with history.
The Miller House – and a Slice of Cake – or – Life Shortly Before Disaster refers to the modernist private residence Eero Saarinen built for John Irwin Miller and his wife Xenia Miller. The building near Columbus, Indiana, references Mies van der Rohe’s steel-and-glass architecture, especially his Farnsworth House. Miller House combines all the most important tenets of the international modernist aesthetic such as an open-plan layout, flat roof, and large expanses of glass and masonry.
The simulated exhibition space in Giostra is similarly inspired by the same dominant architectural language of the 1950s and 1960s, which continues to wield influence today.
Maja Weyermann correlates her architectural spaces with scenes from the films La Dolce Vita (1960, Fellini), L’Avventura (1960, Antonioni) and Shadows (1959, Cassavetes), which had all been radical departures. Their unprecedented and uncompromising narrative techniques shocked contemporary audiences and often provoked strong rejection. Today they are considered classics of film history.
On several levels these films display their protagonists’ inability to communicate in a stagnant society that is on the verge of collapse or transformation.
The icons of architectural and film history which the artists cite – formerly as avant garde elements of our cultural identity, yet today they define it – are an indication of the link between the power of representation and the ideal of autonomous art.
For these two series, Maja Weyermann conceived a new virtual model in which film and architectural space merge. Figures are freed from their narrative space in distortions and repetitions, and apportioned into cinematic space, which develops through movement in time. The latter fuses with the simulated architecture in a number of variegated overlays, giving rise in our perception to a dream-like sequence of multi-perspectival and fractal spaces.
1 Siepen, Nicolas: “Abstraktes Leben auf virtuellen Baustelle”, in: free frame cuts, exh. cat. Koch und Kesslau Gallery, Berlin 2003, unpaginated.
2 The Italian term for a carousel or joust.