Alexander Brodsky: Reliefs
8 October — 20 November 2016
Betts Project is pleased to present Reliefs, an exhibition of Russian artist and architect Alexander Brodsky in London.
The exhibition presents sculptures in Alexander Brodsky’s signature unfired clay as well as a series of previously unseen drawings, made especially for this exhibition.
Reliefs will also see the opening of the basement gallery at Betts Project — a space, on Brodsky’s wishes, deliberately left bare, temporarily arresting the process of its refurbishment, in accordance with his preference for the unfinished over the finished, and to better connect with what he sees as the spirit of his drawings and reliefs.
Acclaimed as ‘the most important Russian architect alive today’, Brodsky first made his name in the 1980s with a striking set of architectural etchings, produced in collaboration with his great friend Ilya Utkin. Over the last 30 years it is difficult to think of a more influential, more compelling set of architectural drawings, for Brodsky and Utkin not only reinvested Soviet design with all of the intelligence, history and humour it had lost over the previous half century, but they did so with images that were as original as they were engaging. These drawings would be exhibited all over the world, and their success led to a period when Brodsky lived and worked in the US. Back in his beloved Moscow since 2000, he has continued to work across the boundaries of art and architecture, completing a number of pavilions, interiors and galleries, while also exhibiting drawings and large relief models in his now signature unfired clay. Brodsky’s architecture remains restrained, blurring the line between art and architecture, combining low cost, local and reused materials to produce buildings that are both traditional and modern. His unfired clay artworks as well as his buildings act as a reminder of the fragility of the city.
As Thomas Weaver continues from his recent published interview, Alexander Brodsky has been working with unfired clay since 1999. ‘Clay seems to be the most perfect Brodsky material – perhaps even more so than the copper of the etching plate – because of its ability to hold within it a series of memories.’ Brodsky adds, ‘The memory aspect is definitely a big part of its appeal. This is why I never wanted to fire the clay pieces I made, because when you put it in a kiln you kill it, you remove the ability to rehydrate it and make it into something new. Clay is just such a wonderful material, the most fragile thing you could imagine, yet so interesting.’
Alexander Brodsky, born in Moscow in 1955, is an artist and architect and lives and works in Moscow. He is the son of artist, book illustrator and architect Savva Brodsky (1923—1982). Brodsky graduated from the Moscow Institute of Architecture in 1978 before first receiving international acclaim in the 1980s with his utopian etchings, and was a key member of the after so-called Paper Architects. In 1990 Brodsky travelled to New York and then moved there in 1996 to work on public projects as well as installations. Four years later he returned to Moscow where he practises freely as an architect.
Exhibitions include the Venice Biennale, 2016; Tchoban Foundation, Berlin, 2015; Moscow Biennale of contemporary Art, 2013; Calvert 22, London, 2012; Architekturzentrum Wien, Vienna, 2011; Musée du Louvre, Paris, 2010; Fondazione Sandretto, Torino, 2008; Espace Loius Vuitton, Paris, 2007; Venice Biennale, 2006; Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, 2006. Aside from private collections, Alexander Brodsky’s works are part of Tate Modern and MoMA collections.
- Thursday 6 October, 7pm, Barbican, London: Alexander Brodsky joins Thomas Weaver for an evening of conversation. The event is organised by the Architecture Foundation in association with the Barbican.
- Sunday 9 October, ‘Sheds – Palaces of Nothing’, Hauser & Wirth, Somerset: An exhibition curated by Alexander Brodsky and Robert Mull from the Drawing Matter collection.
We thank the Tchoban Foundation in Berlin for their support as the original drawing of our limited edition is part of their collection.
Alexander Brodsky | 2014 | unfired clay | 98x150cm
Alexander Brodsky | 2016 | Pigment and overlay on Fabriano paper | 50x70cm
Edition of 50, hand signed and numbered by the artist