Chicago Architecture Biennial

Architecture Is Everywhere

John Hill
8. October 2015
Sou Fujimoto, "Architecture Is Everywhere" in the foreground with MOS Architects, "House No. 11" in the background (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)

In his contribution for the Chicago Architecture Biennial, Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto has placed found objects on spindly pedestals in a fourth-floor gallery of the Chicago Cultural Center, provoking the differences between "found" and "made" architecture.

A stack of Pringles. A pine cone. An aluminum extrusion. These are just a few of the many "readymades," to harken back to Marcel Duchamp's Fountain, that Fujimoto has assembled in his Architecture Is Everywhere installation. Accompanying the objects are two things that make the pieces more than merely found objects: scale figures that turn the small objects into representations of much larger objects (buildings?); and enigmatic statements that push the viewer in a particular direction of thinking. While the aluminum extrusion (bottom photo, reading "A covered place should be one of architecture's origins") actually recalls a specific building – Atelier Tekuto's Lucky Drops – most of the pieces require some sort of imaginative stretch on the part of the viewer. 

Beyond the provocations that Fujimoto has set up by juxtaposing found objects with scale figures and short statements, Architecture Is Everywhere also questions the curatorial process, just like Duchamp's Fountain (un upturned urinal) questioned definitions of art and the context of their display. Would Fujimoto's installation be taken seriously if it were not part of an exhibition with reputable artistic directors, or if it was presented as a student work? I doubt it, and this makes it as much a commentary on architecture exhibitions as it is a commentary on architectural production.

Detail of Sou Fujimoto, "Architecture Is Everywhere" (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
Detail of Sou Fujimoto, "Architecture Is Everywhere" (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)

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