15 March — 22 April 2017
Betts Project is delighted to present an exhibition of renowned Swiss architect Peter Märkli, alongside relief-sketches by the sculptor Hans Josephsohn. This will be the artist’s second solo exhibition at the gallery, showing works –from his famous ‘Language drawings’ to 3D drawings and models– that are related to selected projects.
‘The sketch is the germ of an idea, with no detail in it. The sketch has to be kept small, otherwise you’d have to flesh out certain details. It’s like a writer coming up with an idea for a novel. He might be clear that there will be three main characters, but he doesn’t yet know how the plot will unfold.
Every time you have a motif, an idea, and you need a lot of drawings to work through it to the end. You might do ten and look and suddenly realise that you know enough at that moment, and the thing is finished. But then you might come back to that series much later. It’s perfectly possible. Twenty years after I did this series of facades made up of squares – different squares, not regular ones – I built a house using the same motif. The building and the situation and the landscape all needed this facade.
If I make these drawings they are more or less two-dimensional, and the question is how to do a facade and the elements on the facade. Out of all these hundreds of drawings, I think only a small number are directly connected with a project.
When I was studying at the ETH I used to go and visit Hans Josephsohn in his atelier.I was also assisting him for a while, constructing rough frameworks and things like that. For me, it became quite normal to work with sculpture, so suddenly I was able to see the possibility of making the join between the column and the horizontal in a different way from Olgiati. I saw I could extend the column up to the horizontalelement and place a relief at the point where they met. That was very important for me. And so a lot of my sketches have pieces by Josephsohn in them. We’ve talked about how a sketch might start but I should add that I never know whether or not a piece has come to an end. It might produce some result. It might be the most I can possibly do at a particular time or for a particular project, but perhaps it’s not completely done. And I can’t say exactly why.’
Peter Märkli’s work reveals an unconventional approach to architecture, one that is extremely personal. It straddles boundaries of architecture and art.
Born 1953 in Zurich, Peter set up practice 1978. His first works were houses that immediately marked him out as a serious architectural mind. His breakthrough building was La Congiunta, the 1992 ‘house for art’ in the canton of Ticino that houses the reliefs of the sculptor Hans Josephsohn. Since then projects have become larger and more complex, culminating in his Visitor Centre for Novartis Basel in 2006 and his internationally recognised offices, New Synthes, Solothurn of 2012.
Former exhibitions of his work include those held at: Common Ground (2012), the 13th Annual International Venice Architecture Biennale; Architektur Galerie, Berlin (2008 & 2005); National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (2008); Architekturmuseum, Basel (2006 & 2000); Kunsthalle, Vienna (2005); Architekturgalerie, Hamburg (2003); Königliche Kunsthalle, Copenhagen (2002); and at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London (2002).
The exhibition at Betts Project coincides with the publication of Märkli’s new book ‘Everything one invents is true’ published by Quarter Verlag. The book will be for sale at the gallery during the preview.
On Friday 10 March Peter Märkli will give a lecture at the Barbican, an event organised by the Architecture Foundation, in association with the Barbican.