Maison Touchard presents Housewarming, a group exhibition featuring the work of Jemma Appleby, Alice Bucknell, Vanessa Dziuba, Shawn Maximo, Lindsey Mendick, and Camille Yvert. Marking the launch of Maison Touchard, a project space set in an East London council flat, Housewarming explores the dichotomy between the utopian origins of Modernist architecture – inherently moralistic ideals of purity, transparency, light, and function – and its failed and rebellious legacies, namely within the prescriptive urban renewal and public housing schemes that began to appear en masse in the second half of the 20th century.
The doctrines of the International Style – the Bauhaus’ appropriated ideology of “form follows function”, Le Corbusier’s calculating conception of the house as a “machine to live in”, and the embrace of mass-produced materials such as concrete – appealed greatly to urban planners seeking to stow away unwanted elements (whatever and whoever did not fit into their vision of a clean, modern city) wholesale under the guise of social welfare. Consider New York’s projects, Paris’ grands ensembles, or London’s council estates: soulless blocks of concrete and brick ill-equipped to accommodate the complex and messy vitality of the inhabitants they are meant to serve. Taking this context into account, the works included in this exhibition address and embody the fundamental paradox that hovers in the tension between public and private, mechanical and organic, function and form.