Diagonal Works: Diagonal Work 1, Diagonal Work 3

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

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The Diagonal Work series investigates the problem of the diagonal as a translation of painterly forms and ideas – those relayed through the diamond-shaped canvases of Piet Mondrian – into plastic devices and composition strategies. An underlying proposition is that a sustained exploration of the diagonal and conditions of diagonality will contribute to revealing formal and spatial capacities in architecture still to be fully exploited and theorised.
The project was launched in part to take up the challenge announced by John Hejduk to explore the ‘significance in the diamond canvases of Mondrian for architects of today.’ At its most ambitious, Hejduk’s challenge was intended to lead to the generation of what he characterised as a third idea of space alongside or perspectival space and cubist space.
The works pick up two strands of twentieth century architectural investigations. One strand runs from El Lissitzky’s spatial experiments to the radial, pinwheel approach of DeStijl that voids the centre. Theo van Doesburg and Cornelis van Eesteren’s counter-constructions and Gerrit Rietveld’s Schröder House exemplify this approach which empties or alternately fully charges the centre. Another strand engages layered planar space, denying frontality through an intensification of edges and corners in order to charge the periphery with forces in a manner best illustrated in axonometric or oblique views. To take one example, and as Kenneth Frampton has suggested, Giuseppe Terragni’s Giuliani-Frigerio apartment block realises this idea.
Four interconnected themes demarcate the research: voided centres, peripheral tensions, boundless field extensions, and spatial warps realised from right angle relationships. Diagonal Work 1 tests the idea of voided centres, the lozenge shaped field and projecting elements instigating centrifugal movements. Diagonal Work 3 explores peripheral tension realised from planar layering that in turn charge edge conditions. It is ideally viewed on the oblique in a neutrally lit corner.
The works on exhibition contribute to debates around the relationships of painting (two dimensional space) and three-dimensional works (sculpture and architecture), make a modest contribution to research into the potential of Mondrian for built environment practices generally and architecture specifically, and contribute to the conference theme scholarship and theory of design research.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationSydney
PublisherUniversity of Sydney
Media of outputOnline
SizeDiagonalWork1 45x45x22cm;DiagonalWork3 53x53x29cm
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sept 2018


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