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Mendrisio : WHAT MAD PURSUIT and The Swiss Architectural Award


Designed by the architect Mario Botta, the Teatro dell’architettura Mendrisio, which stands on the Campus in Mendrisio – Università della Svizzera italiana, is a place capable of receiving and engaging in dialogue with the products of creativity. This is also the case with photography, whether it’s the show WHAT MAD PURSUIT. Aglaia Konrad, Armin Linke, Bas Princen, characterized by exhibition choices that mutually shape the photos with the spaces designed by Mario Botta, or rather the images of the Swiss Architectural Award 2022. In short, until 22 October, the Architecture Theatre Mendrisio offers a double exhibition proposal.


WHAT MAD PURSUIT. Aglaia Konrad, Armin Linke, Bas Princen

The project analyzes the relationship between architecture and photography, and how the latter relates to the exhibition context, in a constant process of dialogue and negotiation. A selection of photographic works by Aglaia Konrad, Armin Linke and Bas Princen are on show, questioning the documentary function of photography, as a device that records and transforms reality at once, while contradicting its essence of a two-dimensional image by exploring its materiality.

Indeed, the images on display are conceived as objects, so retaining a relationship with both the space inside the frame and with the external space, too. Inspired by the essay of the same name by the British neuroscientist Francis Crick, the title of the show suggests the issues of intersections, combinations and confluences as a crucial element in the enhancement of a “system” as a whole, fostering exchange (multitude) over isolation (uniqueness).

In Shaping Stones, Aglaia Konrad combines buildings by well-known architects with anonymous works, linking them by the use of the same material and by a mode of representation (black and white photography). Armin Linke re-uses the pre-existing images in his archive and mixes them to create a new narrative that goes beyond the original context of production, challenging the notions of chronology, linearity and uniformity. Bas Princen photographs other representations, questioning what happens to them once they are duplicated and converted into two-dimensional images. In his work, these artworks undergo a process of interpretation, resulting in new and independent images, capable of disengaging from the original ones.

WHAT MAD PURSUIT. Aglaia Konrad, Armin Linke, Bas Princen, which aims to express the complexity of photography and its layered character, is curated by Francesco Zanot and promoted by the USI Academy of Architecture.


The Swiss Architectural Award 2022

The Auditorium of the Teatro dell’architettura Mendrisio hosts the exhibition of the projects selected for the eighth edition of the Swiss Architectural Award. Selected by a jury chaired by Mario Botta, the project by the winner, Xu Tiantian, founder of DnA Design and Architecture (China), includes works that Tiantian describes as “acupuncture” interventions aiming to revitalize historic settlements or pieces of landscape. It also focuses on civic instances (as they intend to serve local communities) and the quality of the proposed architecture, with their “marked attention to the context, by a precise and poetic attitude at the same time, and by the blending of different scales and themes, between architecture and infrastructure, permanent and ephemeral, reuse and ex-novo intervention”.

The exhibition, curated by Marco Della Torre and Stefania Murer, shows the works of 26 candidates from 14 countries and, along with more technical parts, also an interesting photographic section. 

Paola Sammartano


WHAT MAD PURSUIT. Aglaia Konrad, Armin Linke, Bas Princen
April 7 – October 22, 2023
Swiss Architectural Award 2022
May 5 – October 22, 2023

Teatro dell’architettura Mendrisio
Via Turconi 25
6850 Mendrisio

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