Mies Missing Materiality
On display for eleven days, the installation turns the pavilion into a critique of the homogenizing Modern architecture that followed from Mies's influential designs, be they in Europe or later in the United States, as well as the black-and-white photos around the 1930s that turned many works of Modern architecture into compositions free of color. Mies Missing Materiality also draws attention to the meticulous reconstruction carried out by Ignasi de Solà-Morales and other Spanish architects 57 years after the original pavilion was erected and dismantled as part of the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition. With the original materials long recycled or sold for scrap, the architects used the pavilion's thorough photo documentation – many of the photos were commissioned by Mies – to best match the original appearance, completing it in 1986 in time for the centennial of Mies's birth.
In the words of Anna and Eugeni Bach:
Mies Missing Materiality is on display at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona from 16 November to 27 November 2017.
The Pavilion in Barcelona upon which we act is a reconstruction, a replica so faithful to the original that it is often difficult to remember its true nature. A building that should have been temporary was immortalized first by the written account of the modern movement and later by its own reconstruction.
Turning the Pavilion into a mock-up, with all the surfaces restricted to the same material, as white as it is indeterminate, reveals the building’s representative role—both that of the original, as a national symbol, and that of the replica, by representing the former. For a time, the Pavilion will be the longest-standing 1:1 scale mock-up of the replica of the temporary pavilion in modern architecture.