Artists Space

Matters of Sensation

September 25 – November 22, 2008

Curated by Georgina Huljich and Marcelo Spina.

Matters of Sensation is a group exhibition of projects by fourteen architecture studios in the United States, all from a new generation of practitioners.

A computer rendering of a purple and amorphous form composed of long, extending tube shapes on a white background.
[A computer rendering of a purple and amorphous form composed of long, extending tube shapes on a white background.]

Whereas architects' use of computers first affected shape and structure, the participants in this exhibition address the way materials are not just about construction choices but also a means of creating diverse sensations in a space, focusing on the effects produced by the materials' textures and surfaces. Through playful manipulation of such elements, beauty, ornament, and pattern have thus found their way back into contemporary design.

The best of these explorations avoide a neo-utilitarian tone in favor of aesthetic and psychological investigations. They are voluptuous productions that aspire to elicit a heightened awareness of our material environment. Such efforts became supercharged by the introduction of modeling software into academic studios in the early 1990s, followed soon after by rendering and animation software and then by digital fabrication. In the jump from a digital or virtual architecture to new modes of architectural fabrication usually described as research-oriented, productions must now be evaluated according to their success at evoking in the viewer materials sensations and corporeal effects.

Unaligned in their interests and bored by old debates, the group of young architectures featured in Matters of Sensation produce work that attempts to answer no questions, solve no problems, and broach no oppositions. It is, rather, about a fascination with architectural forms that induce sensation - about fantasy, intimacy, and sci-fi, and above all, about experiencing pleasure.

Artists: David Erdman and Clover Lee/davidclovers, Tom Wiscombe/Emergent, Mark Foster Gage and Marc Clemenceau Bailly/Gage Clemenceau Architects, Heather Roberge and Jason Payne/Gnuform, Jason Payne/Hirsuta, Eric Howeler and Meejin Yoon/Howeler and Yoon Architecture, Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott/Iwamoto Scott Architecture, Florence Pita/FPmod, Michael Meredith and Hilary Sample/MOS, Ruy Klein/Karel Klein and David Ruy, Kivi Sotamaa/Sotamaa Architecture and Design, Ferda Kolatan/SU11, Hernan Diaz Alonso/Xefirotarch

Two large structures made of long, white strips that swirl around one another and form a vertical column are mounted from the ceiling and floor of an open gallery space. Black text posted on a gallery wall to the right of the image reads, "MATTERS OF SENSATION." To the left of the image, in the background, three rectangular forms rest on white plinths.
Matters of Sensation. Installation view, Artists Space, 2008. Photo: Adam Reich. [Two large structures made of long, white strips that swirl around one another and form a vertical column are mounted from the ceiling and floor of an open gallery space. Black text posted on a gallery wall to the right of the image reads, "MATTERS OF SENSATION." To the left of the image, in the background, three rectangular forms rest on white plinths.]
Three gray objects rest on separate rectangular, white plinths in a gallery space with wooden flooring. Each of the objects is rectangular and has a 3D, biomorphic form.
Matters of Sensation. Installation view, Artists Space, 2008. Photo: Adam Reich. [Three gray objects rest on separate rectangular, white plinths in a gallery space with wooden flooring. Each of the objects is rectangular and has a 3D, biomorphic form.]
A metal form sits on a sloped gray slap on top of a low, rectangular plinth. The 3D form is composed of thin metal sheets that together form an amorphous shape that casts a series of shadows on the surface below it.
Matters of Sensation. Installation view, Artists Space, 2008. Photo: Adam Reich. [A metal form sits on a sloped gray slap on top of a low, rectangular plinth. The 3D form is composed of thin metal sheets that together form an amorphous shape that casts a series of shadows on the surface below it.]
Several sculptures and models sit in a gallery space with wooden floors. To the left of the image, there are several shining metalic forms supported by long, spider-like legs standing at hip height. On the image
Matters of Sensation. Installation view, Artists Space, 2008. Photo: Adam Reich. [Several sculptures and models sit in a gallery space with wooden floors. To the left of the image, there are several shining metalic forms supported by long, spider-like legs standing at hip height. On the image's right is a large model of a futuristic building. Hanging from the ceiling behind the metal sculptures is a shiny, white rectangular sculpture with sleek, ribbon-like forms.]
Three sculptural forms sit and hang in a large gallery space. A large gray form with anemone-like tendrils is spread across the floor. Behind it on the gallery wall there is a large, shiny orange sculpture covered in bud-like forms. To the left of the image hands a yellow sculpture with metal spikes protruding from its surface.
Matters of Sensation. Installation view, Artists Space, 2008. Photo: Adam Reich. [Three sculptural forms sit and hang in a large gallery space. A large gray form with anemone-like tendrils is spread across the floor. Behind it on the gallery wall there is a large, shiny orange sculpture covered in bud-like forms. To the left of the image hands a yellow sculpture with metal spikes protruding from its surface.]

Additional support for Matters of Sensation was provided by The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.