Peter Wilson: Indian Summer and Thereafter
Betts Project is pleased to reopen its gallery with Indian Summer and Thereafter, a solo exhibition of works by architect Peter Wilson. Marked by great formal sophistication and sensitivity, Wilson’s practice is motivated by an interest in the imaginative and figurative possibilities of architecture, which are here presented through a selection of 84 drawings and painting works from a series of five projects created between 1983 and the present.
The Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA) of the 1970s and 1980s has been described as the ‘Indian Summer of Hand Drawing’. Peter Wilson explains: ”We did not know at the time that a digital eclipse was around the corner. Now some years later some of us pencil holding dinosaurs are being visited by scholars of ancient technologies”. This exhibition maps a few moments in the intervening years. It includes the Wilhaminer Pier project in Rotterdam (1994) which was the last hand drawing presentation by Bolles+Wilson, and which collapses three proposals: the Bridgewatcher’s House and Quay, the Landing Square and the Luxor Theatre. Also on display are two projects from the 1984 Bridgebuilding series - The Academia Bridge for Venice which was a proposal for the 3rd Architecture Biennale (1985) directed and put forward by Aldo Rossi, and the Paris Pont des Arts produced at the time for the architecture publication L’Ivre de Pierres. Also in this production pan are drawn researches for the 2016 book ‘Some Reasons for Travelling to Italy’, published by the AA.
The most recent works on display include 44 objects from his series Small World Theory (2008-2019). These works focus less on the architecture of Bolles+Wilson and more on Wilson’s private reveries - objects or bi-products accidentally brought into being by the hand of the architect. They are ‘Counter-Factual Histories’ reflecting his field of production, technologies and cultural anomalies endemic to the early years of the 21st century. They conjure the relations of singularities to multiplicity, a soft empiricism that insists on the aesthetic and textural character of representation (but not representation as 2D simulations which today exist in such overwhelming superfluity, claiming and numbing our perception). These objects are monads in the sense of Leibniz or Benjamin, tiny cells and small worlds, in total a taxonomy of scripted physical narratives.
The object titles are significant as they owe a certain debt to Laurence Sterne or Glen Baxter, e.g. ‘Continental Drift and What to do About it’. Others are more specifically referenced, e.g. ‘Freaky Suit Malevich’, or pilfered directly from James Joyce’s “A bad attack of Maggot it feels Like”. While titles like ‘Psychological Disturbances of the Neanderthaler’ play on the lost in translation syndrome.
Small World Theory implied chains of correspondences, the wacky science of average path lengths for (social) networks, degrees of separation and the connecting of a maximum number of points. In the same way, random walks are expected in this exhibition.
- 27 June to 25 July 2020
100 Central Street
EC1V 8AJ London, Great Britain
- Betts Project