Rouse Visiting Artist Lecture: Luisa Lambri, with Mark Lee

Untitled (100 Untitled Works in Mill Aluminum, 1982-1986, #01), 2012. Courtesy Thomas Dane Gallery and Marc Foxx Gallery

Untitled (100 Untitled Works in Mill Aluminum, 1982-1986, #01), 2012, Laserchrome print, cm 94 x 79,39, Courtesy Thomas Dane Gallery and Marc Foxx Gallery

Luisa Lambri is an artist currently based in Milan.

For nearly two decades, Lambri has examined the relationship between space and the human experience through the medium of photography. Her early work expressed a desire to depict constructed spaces in non-figurative ways and to highlight architectural details that in their form suggest abstraction. As a result, many of her photographs are situated in a place between representation and abstraction and can be understood as a perpetual reconsideration of space and its effects on human life.

For many years an investigation into the history of Modernist architecture, especially private residencies, was of particular interest to the Lambri. The photographs from this early period rarely presented a building with the intent of objective representation but rather tried to subvert and deconstruct the authority of many of the 20th century’s most iconic buildings through a process of abstraction. In these photographs, Lambri focused on details such as doors, windows or staircases as conduits between the inside and the outside and as possibilities for movement. The concentration on details like ceilings, floors, windows or wall patterns resulted in abstract images that often make it impossible to say where a photograph was taken, which building the artist worked in or what architect designed it. The artist repeatedly stated that these earlier works could be understood as self-portraits devoid of her physical presence exploring female identity within spaces mostly constructed by men.

Over the last decade, Lambri’s interest in structures and spaces has broken from the confines of architecture as she started to look at other practitioners in the field of the visual arts who were similarly intrigued by space and abstraction. Her photographs of works by artists connected to Minimalism and the Light and Space movement as well as Latin American abstraction, particularly Neo-Concretism, have occupied her practice and taken the work away from only exploring architecture to a wider consideration of form, space and abstraction. While minimal and reductive in style the photographs are highly personal and interrogate, in equal parts, our physical and psychological existence as humans.

For this event, Lambri will present an overview of her work, with particular attention to her investigations of geometric and organic abstraction. Mark Lee, principal of Johnston Marklee & Associates and co-Artistic Director of the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, will introduce Lambri–a participant in the Biennial–and they will engage in a conversation following Lambri’s lecture.

Luisa Lambri was born in 1969 in Como, Italy, and currently lives in Milan. Her solo exhibitions include presentations at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore; the Menil Collection, Houston and the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh among many others. In 1999 she was awarded the Golden Lion at the 48th Venice Art Biennial for her presentation in the Italian Pavilion.

Mark Lee (MArch ’95) is a principal and founding partner of the Los Angeles-based architecture firm Johnston Marklee. Since its establishment in 1998, Johnston Marklee has been recognized nationally and internationally with over 30 major awards. A book on the work of the firm, entitled HOUSE IS A HOUSE IS A HOUSE IS A HOUSE IS A HOUSE, was published by Birkhauser in 2016. This followed a monograph on the firm’s work, published in 2014 by 2G. Mark has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Princeton University, the University of California, Los Angeles, the Technical University of Berlin, and ETH Zurich. He has held the Cullinan Chair at Rice University and the Frank Gehry International Chair at the University of Toronto. The firm’s work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Menil Collection, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Architecture Museum of TU Munich. Together with partner Sharon Johnston (MArch ’95), Mark Lee is the Artistic Director of the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial.

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