Lebbeus Woods – “Aerial Paris” (1989), Copic Marker on tracing paper on board, 815 × 507 mm; © Estate of Lebbeus Woods
American ‘paper architect’ Lebbeus Woods died in 2012, after an illustrious career in academics, art, and futuristic film set design. Though his works are presented in the Museum for Architectural Drawing, Woods never finished his degree in architecture, nor did he practice. But he did teach at the Cooper Union architecture school in New York, and he became an iconic reference for artists and architects alike.
Woods’ founded the Research Institute for Experimental Architecture in 1988, and much of his analysis focussed on sites in San Francisco, Havana, and Sarajevo. This historical narrative is not straightforwardly presented in the current show at the Tchoban Foundation. Instead, the curator – Woods’ lifelong friend and partner Christoph A. Kumpusch – has approached his work through technique rather than context.
The exhibition ON-line separates his work into five kinds of line figuration: sinuous, staccato, merged, ruptured, and invisible. In this way, we are offered a vision of Woods’ drawing as dynamic and varied. While his works all have a similar aesthetic in terms of content, displaying dream-like, sci-fi cityscapes, his medium and method show how versatile he is as an artist.
From his black and white treatments of Paris and his fictional A-City to his detailed designs for a geomagnetic flying machine, Woods’ imaginative approach to architecture and space has served to encourage unconventional approaches to a classical discipline.
Lebbeus Woods – Geomagnetic Flying Machines (1989), Watercolor over a pencil drawing, 790 x 575 mm; © Estate of Lebbeus Woods
Lebbeus Woods – “Region M” (1984), Pencil on paper, 358 × 308 mm; © Estate of Lebbeus Woods
Blog entry by Alison Hugill in Berlin; Monday, Jul. 14, 2014.