Sticks and Stones, an Intervention

John Hill
2. Oktober 2014
Photo: David von Becker

David Chipperfield has inserted 144 tree trunks inside the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, one year before the British architect's renovation of the museum designed by Mies van der Rohe in the 1960s.

On display from October 2 to December 31, David Chipperfield - Sticks and Stones takes as its subject the one element of architecture missing from Rem Koolhaas's Venice Biennale – the column. Spruce trunks – over 8 meters in length with 30-50cm diameters – follow the grid of the longspan roof, attached via brackets at the ceiling and sitting on plates at the floor. Given that Mies's design of the Nationalgalerie floats the roof on 8 columns sitting beyond the glass walls, Chipperfield's installation dramatically alters the character of the single open space.

Photo: David von Becker
Photo: David von Becker

The relationship of the exhibition to the museum's upcoming renovation is mentioned in a statement from the Nationalgalerie: "Like a provisional construction, the 144 barked spruce tree trunks, each ca. eight meters in length, symbolically support the weight of the roof. They fit into the clear pattern shaped by the steel roof, the granite floor, and the overall proportions of the Neue Nationalgalerie. In this way, Chipperfield’s installation allows for a new experience of space within the modernist rigor of the Mies van der Rohe design. Sticks and Stones thus pays homage to the great predecessor Mies van der Rohe while simultaneously serving as a metaphor for the upcoming construction site."

Photo: David von Becker
Photo: David von Becker

A 200-square-meter "clearing" has been created in the middle of the forest of columns, allowing for events to take place, including the Festival of Future Nows (October 30 - November 1) and the Colloquium on the refurbishment of the Neue Nationalgalerie "Form versus Function: Mies and the Museum" (November 27 and 28).

In the below video, Chipperfield describes his approach to the exhibition, even taking a potshot at Koolhaas's Biennale, which is taking place two years after Chipperfield's.

Verwandte Artikel

Andere Artikel in dieser Kategorie