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- Author Nicolas Grospierre
- Date of production 2012
- Author's designation none
- ID no. BS/975
- Availability in stock
- Acquired date 2012
- Object copyright Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art
- Digital images copyright © all rights reserved, Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Virtual Małopolska project
The project by Nicolas Grospierre, The house which grows, tackles the problem of the gap between aesthetics and the functionality of architecture. In his work, the artist is interested in forms of modernist architecture and in how the very possibility of establishing universal public housing led to the fall of this utopian project.more
The project by Nicolas Grospierre, The house which grows, tackles the problem of the gap between aesthetics and the functionality of architecture. In his work, the artist is interested in forms of modernist architecture and in how the very possibility of establishing universal public housing led to the fall of this utopian project.
In a critical article about the Grospierre’s exhibition at the Bunkier Sztuki Gallery, The city which does not exist (14.07–26.08.2012), Miłosz Słota compares the ideas of the great architects of modernism to artistic projects, beautiful in their assumptions, but detached from the reality of human existence: “Did Fourier and Martin remember that they design for the people? Fourier likes to dress up even the most rational conversations with the fanciest arguing. Walter Benjamin said that his discourse is similar to the highly sophisticated language of flowers. This language belongs to artists. Paradoxically, it is the language of Le Corbusier, Morris, Van der Rohe, but also Martin, because the utopians overwhelmed with the vision forget about reality. This Vision, coherent as an abstract artistic construct, ceases to apply when translated into reality. The language of flowers is not the language of man.” While in the previous projects, Demolished block, 2006; the Modern countryside series, (2003–2010); the House of God series (2003–2011); European Hotel, 2006; the Colourblocks series, (2005–2006), Grospierre investigated the reasons for the collapse of modernism; this time he starts looking for proposals of alternative solutions. The house which grows is a photocollage created by the artist, which, in its assumption, is closer to social reality than the theory of art. The growing building has the form of a hybrid and is modified in accordance with the changing needs of its inhabitants. The artist describes it as follows: “Please, recall two things that we often see in Poland: unplastered, unfinished houses which are already inhabited, and, »extensions«, the effect of many years of savings. While referring to these practices (running against the current of architectural art), I decided to jokingly magnify the phenomenon of household »growth« on a truly crazy scale. My house grows like mushrooms after rain — or maybe: like mould.” On the one hand, such expansion indicates the continuous superiority of practical and economic needs, on the other , the dynamic development of housing and its susceptibility to change in its functions, depending on the needs of its residents.
One can find similar thinking in the projects of contemporary architects, who put emphasis on public housing, not on the unique values of architectural design. Quinta Monroy’s housing project (Iquique, Chile, 2004) can be used as an example of this, designed by the Pritzker Prize winner in 2016, a Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena. In his assumptions, the project had to enable its residents to become active participants in the process of designing and rebuilding their own homes, which, in the longer term, should lead to a greater identification of people with the inhabited space and the care taken of it. “Leave what is not important, be precise, avoid ruthlessness”,says Aravena about his creative process. This approach coincides with the processes observed in Nicolas Grospierre’s public housing. People usually try to break away from the rules imposed upon them, and therefore striving to find a perfect, universal residential solutions, suitable for all, were doomed to failure. Today’s architects must consider the fact that they are not the only creators of their own projects; the tenants of The Houses which grow, along with their own needs, are creators as well.
Dimensions: 18,5 cm × 33,5 cm, 24,5 cm × 33,3 cm, 31 cm × 63,5 cm, 50 cm × 74,5 cm, 64 cm × 131 cm, 97 cm × 130 cm
Elaborated by Vera Zalutskaya (Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art),
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.
Nicolas Grospierre (born 1975) is a photographer, documentary maker, and sociologist by education. He studied political science at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris and the at London School of Economics. He is primarily interested in architecture, especially in its socialist, modernist versions. He is classified among the so-called new documentary filmmakers; he has created extensive series of photos, analysing specific architectural and social issues in them. He has documented, among others, Lithuanian bus stops, aging Polish modernism, the interiors of the disused European Hotel in Warsaw, and a hospital in Druskininkai. In 2008 (together with Grzegorz Piątek, Jarosław Trybus and Kobas Laksa), he was honoured with the Golden Lion at the Architecture Biennale in Venice. He was awarded laureate of the Minister of Culture Award in 2009; in 2012, he received the “Polityka” Passport in the “visual arts” category. He publishes his photographs in magazines and books including: Warsaw w poszukiwaniu centrum [Warsaw in search of the centre], Kraków 2005; Mutation. Une ambassade à Varsovie, Paris 2005; Architektura w opozycji [Architecture in opposition], Gliwice, 2013; OPEN-ENDED, Berlin, 2013; MODERN FORMS. A Subjective Atlas of 20th-Century Architecture, Munich, 2016. He has presented his works at the following individual exhibitions: Library (University of Warsaw Library, Warsaw, 2007), Mausoleum (together with Olga Mokrzycka, with the Raster Gallery, Warsaw, 2007), Hotel Polonia (together with Kobas Laksa, Polish Pavilion at the 11th Architecture Biennale, Venice, 2008), A photo that grows (Archeology of Photography Foundation, Warsaw, 2011), The Bank (Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev, 2012), A city that does not exist (Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art, Kraków, 2012), The Embassy (Platan Gallery, Budapest, 2013), Typologies (Alarcon Criado Gallery, Seville, 2014), Lost in Architecture (The Baltic Gallery of Contemporary Art, Słupsk, 2015), Todo Palidece Ante el Libro (Centro de Arte Alcobendas, Madrid, 2016), Modern Forms. A Subjective Atlas of 20th-century Architecture (National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2017). He has taken part in numerous group exhibitions, including: Red Eye Effect. Polish photography of the 21st century (Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, 2008), Awake and Dream (Signum Foundation, Palazzo Dona, Venice, 2009), Fitting in Sapce (Zico House and 98 weeks project, Beirut, 2010), Journey to the East (Arsenał Gallery, Białystok, 2011), Politics: I do not like you, but you love me (CCA Łaźnia, Gdańsk, 2013), State of Life. Polish Contemporary Art within a Global Circumstance (National Art Museum of China, Beijing, 2015), Warsaw w Budowie 8 (Warsaw in Construction 8) (MSN, Warsaw, 2016), Late Polishness. Forms of national identity after 1989 (CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, 2017). He lives and works in Warsaw.
 M. Słota, Utopijny język kwiatów, “Obieg”, <archiwum-obieg.u-jazdowski.pl/rozmowy/25949> [access: 18.07.2017].
 Utopijne miasto!, opracowanie: Arkadiusz Półtorak, <e-splot.pl/index.php?pid=articles&id=2195> [access: 18.07.2017].
 Bruce Watson, Alejandro Aravena: architect, equaliser, el visionaro, <theguardian.com/cities/2014/feb/06/alejandro-aravena-architect-dreamer-equaliser> [access: 18.07.2017].