June 1, 2006
by Canadian Architect
Edited by Jes Fernie. London: Black Dog Publishing, 2006.
Two Minds: Artists and Architects in Collaboration offers a fascinating perspective on the continuing evolution of the interdisciplinary relationship between art and architecture. This tradition has existed since the 19th-century Arts and Crafts movement, and even the Bauhaus and de Stijl in the early 20th century advocated an increased dialogue between art, architecture, design and technology. By the 1950s and ’60s, corporate plazas across North America were dotted with colourful abstract public sculptures by artists like Alexander Calder, but the relationship between architecture and art was more distant and complementary instead of truly dialogue-based. Perhaps inevitably, the two disciplines have shifted towards a truly collaborative and integrated process rather than a parallel one of making separate discrete contributions to a particular project. As this publication originates from the United Kingdom, most of the projects and relationships described within are drawn from a strictly European context. Essays by Philip Ursprung and Cara Mullio along with key photographs richly communicate the essence of the projects while exploring critical issues surrounding collaborative practice. The projects are divided into three separate subsections: Groundscapes, Buildings and Things, and include the Folkestone Library by David Adjaye (see page 47 of this issue) working in conjunction with controversial artist Chris Ofili. Canadian expat Adam Caruso is featured alongside artist Simon Moretti in the context of their Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood in London. A broad spectrum of topics are undertaken, including the impressive level of awareness and support for art and architecture in German-speaking areas of Europe, the recent emergence of many inaccessible “gallery” artists into the public domain, and new ways of working and discovery that have resulted from the collaborative process.