On a wall are shelves of different glass jars and urns, which could be something from a very expensive perfumery in Bond Street. Here they are different, more poignant; each contains the ashes of a books belonging to an imaginary Library of Alessandria, a counterpoint to the Library of Alexander which burnt down in the first century AD with the loss of all is manuscripts and papyrus scrolls. What is fascinating is to see what the artist Antonio Riello has chosen as the works that would represent the loss of a modern Library, including Andrea Palladio’s 16th century ‘I Quattro Libri Dell’Architettura’ and Kimatake Hiraoka’s ‘Hagakure Nyumon’ from 1967.
Rosenfeld Porcini in Fitzrovia continues its exploration of different themes with ‘Verticality’, exploring the power struggle in art between the vertical and the horizontal – a power struggle that also takes place in architecture with a battle between ever-taller buildings and horizontal developments that are more related to human scale and, as we can see in politics, there is often a struggle between horizonal democracy and individual power or egos. There is also a link back to Riello’s installation; what if he had created this using works of art? Many have been destroyed through fire over the centuries, sometimes due to political influences such as in Nazi Germany; what would be the greatest loss if such destruction occurred today?
Verticality includes paintings, drawings and sculptures which fill the gallery spaces. Herbert Golser’s beautiful natural columns and Roberto Almagno’s curving line take materials such as wood and turn them into something which challenges the character of the material to its utmost, yet celebrates its natural form, which we also see in Nicola Samori’s naturalistic totem that rises through the two floors of the gallery space. Raina Schoretsaniti also uses wood but then covers it to create a luxurious sensual shape, a technique which is quite traditional and was common, for example, in 18th century England to create those great state beds. Leonardo Drew’s installation appears to be a pile of discarded objects, but in fact is made of paper and Jose Santos III similarly uses discarded objects, but here to make a classical architectural column. Both are saying something about our modern throw-away society and the increasing importance of recycling and reuse of resources while Lu Chao questions the destruction of the natural landscape with ugly concrete buildings. Why not beautiful ones?
Some of the artists are challenging the constraints of juggling or piling objects or people on top of each other; how high can they go; the same question that is continually being asked in the architectural world? Finally, Enrique Brinkmann challenges our perception of artwork. Are his transparent panels a painting or a sculpture – or both? Perhaps, again, a link with architecture.