April 24, 2018
by Canadian Architect
Opening in June, a new and original installation from Canadian artist and visionary architect Philip Beesley will be on display at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). Philip Beesley: Transforming Space integrates architecture, science, engineering, and visual arts to create a luminous and interactive sculptural landscape. In addition to large-scale installations, Beesley is also known for his collaborative work with Dutch haute couture fashion designer Iris van Herpen. Several of their shared designs will be featured in the ROM’s upcoming van Herpen exhibition. Philip Beesley Transforming Space and Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion will run concurrently at the Museum from June 2 to October 8, 2018.
“Philip Beesley has created a visually striking and original installation that will surprise and delight ROM visitors,” said Josh Basseches, ROM Director & CEO. “To step into a Beesley landscape is to enter into a responsive space that erases the boundary between art and spectator to provide a truly immersive experience.”
Beesley’s revolutionary approach to structures and space rests within the emerging field of responsive architecture. Transforming Space, a massive structure comprised of soaring clouds, tangled thickets of 3D-printed formations, and embedded with artificial intelligence, invites visitors into an imaginative, interactive and ethereal space. Delicate, mesh-like canopies filled with pulsing mechanisms are suspended from the ceiling in this forest-inspired landscape. By merging lighting and motion sensors with atmospheric sounds, Transforming Space becomes a ‘living’ sculpture that breathes, undulates and shifts in response to the movements of visitors. The installation includes core contributions from Waterloo-based Living Architecture Systems and Amsterdam’s spatial sound technology specialists, 4DSOUND.
“I am delighted that the ROM is hosting Philip Beesley’s latest work, extruded from his Toronto studio,” said Dr. Alexandra Palmer, ROM’s Nora E. Vaughan Senior Curator. “The installation engages us in the present while making us think about the future as if it already surrounds us. Mirroring the ROM’s cross-disciplinary approach, Transforming Space asks us to imagine the world’s potential for beauty and technology, by connecting art with biodiversity and traditional craft.”
Over the years, Beesley and van Herpen have worked together on over 10 collaborations. Their work has been cited by Vogue’s Suzy Menkes as the most powerful fashion mix of nature and technology. Four of their shared designs – Hybrid Holism (2012), Voltage (2013), Magnetic Motion (2014), and Hacking Infinity (2015) will be on display in van Herpen’s exhibition, adjacent to Beesley’s installation.
Installations from Beesley and Living Architecture Systems have been exhibited at major international cultural venues, including the 2010 Venice Biennale, the 18th Biennale of Sydney (2012), and the inauguration of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, Korea (2013-14). Beesley’s studio has produced over 50 installations and has received many honours, including the Prix de Rome, VIDA 11.0, FEIDAD, Azure AZ, and Architizer A+. Living Architecture Systems research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Canada Council for the Arts.
A combined ticket gives visitors access to Philip Beesley: Transforming Space and Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion. ROM Members always enjoy free admission and can see both exhibitions at a member-only preview on Friday, June 1, 2018.