Mon–Fri 10.00–7.00, Sat 10.00–3.00
Madelon Vriesendorp was one of the founding members of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (together with Rem Koolhaas and Elia and Zoe Zenghelis) and a teacher at the AA for over a decade.
Her painting Flagrant Délit, featured on the cover of Koolhaas’ book Delirious New York (1975), shows the Chrysler and Empire State buildings caught red-handed, in post-coital embrace, by the Rockefeller Center. It constitutes one of the most beguiling attempts to depict the unconscious double-life of modern architecture. But a significant body of Vriesendorp’s work has, until now, remained largely unseen by the public.
The AA Gallery installation will remedy this, and will include paintings and drawings dating from 1966 to today; two collections of postcards collected by Vriesendorp and Koolhaas in New York during the 1970s, which form an accidental archaeology of the USA; and a rarely seen 1979 animation, Flagrant Délit, co-authored with Teri Wehn-Damisch, which tells the torrid tale of Manhattan’s most infamous skyscrapers as an anthropomorphic surrealist melodrama.
The Front Members’ Room will house Vriesendorp’s astounding ‘Archive’ of miniature objects, models and figurines, which numbers in the thousands.
The curators, AACP director Shumon Basar and architect/theorist Stephan Tru¨by, gained unique access to Vriesendorp’s extraordinary studio/archive in North London, a private cosmology of found and invented symbols and stories and the symbolic starting point and repository for ‘The World’ of Vriesendorp. The accompanying AA publication, designed by Kasia Korczak, includes an introduction by critic and collaborator Charles Jencks, conversations between Vriesendorp and historian Beatriz Colomina and cult novelist Douglas Coupland, a rumination by Hubert Damisch on Freud’s London house and Vriesendorp’s studio close by, Fenna Haakma Wagenaar on the ‘productivity of distraction’, a photo-essay by Charlie Koolhaas on her mother’s house/studio, and Rem Koolhaas in a frank interview on origins, ambition and privacy, along with other texts on ‘Bad Paintings’, ‘Smallness’ and the compulsion to ‘collect people’.
An Evening Lecture, Madelon Vriesendorp and Friends will take place on Thursday 17 January at 6.00 in the AA Lecture Hall
The exhibition will tour to the Aedes Gallery, Berlin, in March 2008.