Yona Friedman: Around the Ville Spatiale

25th October - 28th November 2010
Mala galerija, Slovenska cesta 35

Guest curator Nataša Petrešin Bachelez

Yona Friedman (born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1923; lives and works in Paris) is a legendary pioneer and visionary of the so-called mobile architecture and real utopias in the new and wider urban and social space. His remarkable insight into the relations between the various "users" of space and their potential for transforming "shoe-box" architecture into flexible structures has impacted several generations of architects and urban planners, and in recent years also generations of young artists.
Since 1945 Friedman has had the goal of producing architectural works without designs, that is, works that grow out of improvisation. Such a concept of planning reduces the role of an architect to that of a technician, making the inhabitant or user of the building the protagonist of the process and the co-creator of the architecture/building. In 1958 Friedman published a manifesto, L'Architecture mobile (Mobile architecture), having presented its main ideas two years previously at the International Congress of Modern Architecture in Dubrovnik. His ideas contributed to an understanding of architecture as a discipline capable of keeping up with the constant changes in mobile society. Friedman's manifesto describes this new type of mobility, not of the buildings themselves, but of their inhabitants staking out a new kind of freedom in shaping their living units. This theory found its concrete shape in the concept of the ville spatiale (spatial city), in which every inhabitant can develop and perform his/her own ideas and notions of a dwelling. A ville spatiale is a raised spatial structure on pillars that can be constructed above an existing city. It rarely reaches the ground; it can be disassembled and moved elsewhere; and it contains both voids and living units that can be adapted by the individual users.
Around the Ville Spatiale is an exhibition Friedman conceived especially for the Mala galerija. It presents his contribution to a new, participatory understanding of public space and a city's potential to adapt to the individuals? needs and expand above the existing buildings. The reprints of the drawings and collages from various periods representing the various types of arrangements in and of the ville spatiale are displayed on what Friedman calls an iconostasis; they are frequently undated. Three scale models included in this exhibition present yet another format of Friedman's visualization of his concept of the ville spatiale. For his installations and models Friedman always uses simple and, whenever possible, recycled materials: paper, wire, packaging materials, polystyrene. Hanging from the ceiling there is a lightweight wire grid structure illustrating one of the possible states or forms of a ville spatiale.
Lately, Friedman has exhibited almost exclusively in the context of contemporary art spaces; thus he has participated in the Shanghai Biennial (2002), the Venice Biennial (2003, 2009) and the Documenta 11 in Kassel (2002). Ljubljana saw a presentation of his work at the Old Masters exhibition at the P74 Gallery (curated by Zdenka Badovinac, 2008), last year Tobias Putrih organized a workshop with him at the Bétonsalon in Paris, and this year Marjetica Potrč invited him to take part, together with the students of the IUAV school of visual arts, in her project for the Common Ground: Projects for the Lagoon exhibition in Venice. (Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez)
This project is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.

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