500 years ago, in November 1508, the influential Italian architect Andrea Palladio was born in Padua. Plus One Gallery in London is presenting an exhibition of work, Celebrating Palladio, this November. Invited artists and architects working in a variety of media will reflect upon the buildings and legacy of “the most imitated architect in history”.
Aware that there will be a number of “official” exhibitions surveying Palladio’s architecture organized for this significant anniversary, we feel it is important to have some contemporary comment on his legacy and continuing influence. We have asked a number of artists from Britain, Europe and America who have demonstrated an interest in architecture to contribute work to this exhibition. As a series of individual responses to Palladio’s rich and varied oeuvre, we hope this show will act as an interesting and significant compliment and counterpoint to the major, “official” exhibitions. Unlike an exhibition cataloguing Palladio’s output, wonderful but familiar, this exhibition’s concentration on varied artists’ reactions to his work means that one of its strengths will be, by contrast, its unpredictability.
Celebrating Palladio is unusual in that it deals with an architectural subject in a commercial gallery, including work by contemporary architects. While most of the work will be for sale, we will be showing some works that are not, but which will greatly enhance the exhibition, such as architectural models and pieces of writing which we hope will widen and elaborate the view we wish to convey of Palladio as an architect who communicates on many levels to different people. This is a view borne out by successive generations of British architects who have found very different aspects of his architecture an inspiration. As David Watkin points out in the catalogue to the exhibition, ‘different ages find in Palladio what they want to find: for Inigo Jones and Burlington it was purity, for Cockerell richness.’
We are including, along with paintings and drawings, the work of a sculptor, a poet, an etcher, text by an art historian and an essay by a former resident of one ofPalladio’s finest villas and the last to have remained, until recently, in the ownership of the family that commissioned its construction. This diversity is intended to echo the wide ranging interest in all the arts of Palladio’s Humanist patrons.
A number of contemporary architects are taking part in the exhibition as a demonstration of the continuing importance of Palladio’s architecture as a model and an inspiration. They will be showing a range of work from a splendid measured drawing of a Corinthian column by Francis Terry, influenced by one of Palladio’s drawings in his Quattro Libri, to models and drawings of projects and built work affirming Palladio’s importance in the development of subsequent British architecture, especially the country house, with contemporary examples by Quinlan Terry, Julian Bicknell, John Simpson and Robert Adam Architects.
An illustrated catalogue with an essay by David Watkin will be available from the gallery. This has been produced through the generous sponsorship of Sir Anthony Bamford.
The exhibition opens on Tuesday 4 November and runs to 29 November 2008
James Hart Dyke
George Saumarez Smith
Pier Carlo Bontempi
Francis and Quinlan Terry
Catalogue Essay/text, David Watkin
Essay, Caterina Emo Capodilista
Exhibition curated by Carl Laubin
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