Translocations: Mies and MelnikovFarnsworth House, Chicago
4 West Burton Place
Chicago, Illinois 60610
Osvaldo Romberg translocates the iconic circular floor plan of the Konstantin Melnikov House in Moscow, created out of common brick, to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's emblematic Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois, creating a dialogue between two architectural masterpieces and embarking on a one-man artistic expedition into the core of modernism. Romberg creates a monumental machine for thought which examines modernist spiritualism, architecture, and politics, along with the meaning of utopia in a post-revolutionary context. The contrasting architectural qualities, transparency and opacity, found in these two great works carry a narrative charge that reveals the contrasting political and social contexts of the West and Russia in the first half of the twentieth century. This archeology of modernism, framed by a critical post-modern discourse on utopia and architecture, will enable visitors to understand and interpret both buildings in a new way while rethinking their origins in avant-garde utopianism.
Osvaldo Romberg was born in Buenos Aires and trained as a painter and architect. At the start of the Dirty War, his teaching at the University of Tucaman was interrupted and he left Argentina. Over five decades and on five continents, Romberg has produced a consistently goading body of work that tackles questions of analysis, interpretation, and representation of art and art history. His own history of translocation and his firm commitment to family and teaching are mirrored by a practice forever playing with the basics of life, sex and death, and their more complex sensibilities, language and mythology. As director of Bezalel Academy, he influenced an entire generation of Israeli artists, and taught more recently at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He is senior curator at the Slought Foundation and founder of the experimental space, the Well. His work is in many major museum collections around the world.
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