Urban Origami

2 Jul 2010 – 29 Aug 2010

Cost of entry


Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • 207, 65, 83
  • Ealing Broadway
  • Ealing Broadway

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Seven artists explore the overlooked and discarded beauty of the expanding city.


Featuring work by Leo Fitzmaurice, Matthew Houlding, Jools Johnson, Jost Münster, Gaia Persico, Elisa Sighicelli & Haegue Yang. A new exhibition exploring the continuing allure and consequences of the expanding modern city opens at PM Gallery & House on 2 July 2010. Urban Origami brings together seven international artists, each examining city life as urban areas continue to grow and redevelop to meet people's changing expectations. The selection of the work to be displayed has been made with the methods of Soane in mind. Considered by some the father of modernist architecture, Soane's use of recycled materials has influenced the curatorial choices. Each artist brings a distinctive approach in tackling the often-problematic growth of a city. Using a disparate range of discarded items, including advertising material and lights, they scrutinise existing designs for contemporary cities and imagine and create new city models. Much of the work examines the beauty and continued usefulness of the designs, objects and products which can become surplus to requirements or overlooked as cities are redeveloped and expanded. Urban Origami presents a multitude of urban images and architectural perspectives, using animation, film, painting, drawing and photography, and employing recycled objects and deft use of light, a key Soane characteristic. Much of the work is labour intensive in its creation, with sometimes obsessive work by the artist vital in constructing each piece. Gaia Persico has used her collection of line drawings of sixty cities, amassed in recent years while working part-time in cabin crew, as a basis for one extended skyline drawing of conjoined cities, stretching from San Francisco to Sydney. In removing all superfluous details from her cityscapes, her work highlights the similarities between cities separated by many miles. She will also present animations of thirty cities, among them London, Rome, New York, Hong Kong and Cape Town, all drawn from the perspective of a succession of hotel rooms and giving a sense of eavesdropping on a series of scenes. Haegue Yang will show ‘Holiday Story', a series of eerie video landscapes containing faint traces of human presence. Matthew Houlding will present imagined Utopian buildings constructed from a range of materials, while Jools Johnson has created futuristic landscapes, using recycled computer parts and pieces. Elisa Sighicelli presents spectacular manipulated film of displays of light in a Shanghai skyscraper, as well as lightboxes showing city scenes in which the light source has been blocked at certain points, resulting in unreal, ghostly images. Gaia Persico, curator and exhibiting artist, said ‘Modern metropolises are places of duality; for many the lure of the city is inescapable, even with the knowledge that environmental damage goes hand in hand with expansion. Urban Origami does not aim to offer definitive solutions for the future, but rather it points towards a renewed way of looking at the present.' Pitzhanger Manor is the ‘dream house' designed by Sir John Soane as a place to entertain his friends and display his collection of art and antiquities. Sitting in Walpole Park, central Ealing, Pitzhanger Manor and PM Gallery are owned and run by Ealing Council, which is planning a major development project that will see further rooms restored and improved gallery, visitor and education facilities.


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