Curator-exhibition design: Manolis Iliakis
Artwork: EM KEI
Video: Polivios Kessaris
Assistants: Iris Samartzi, Denise Vassiliadou, Asteris Liapis
Photos: Manolis Iliakis
"My laboratory is the beach, the forest, the sea and seashore..".
Jørn Utzon is now widely recognised as one of the most original and outstanding architects of the 20th Century. His architecture ranges from the modest to the monumental; from the humane Kingo courtyard houses to the sculptural abstraction and technical innovation of his iconic masterpiece the Sydney Opera House and the understated monumentality of the Bagsværd Church, with its poetic cloud-like undulating ceiling. As well as such visionary unrealised projects as the subterranean Silkeborg Art Museum. Utzon’s work embodies a visionary approach to architecture that is site specific and poetic, tectonic and humane. One that is informed by a profound appreciation of nature and openness to the diversity of human cultures, as a source of inspiration and analogy, combined with a sense of architecture as art and an innovative approach to the use of technology
The exhibition illustrated and discussed Jørn Utzon’s sources of inspiration from boat building, nature, his extensive travels and influential mentors, together with the recurring themes within his work. As a means to understand both the development of his approach to architectural design and also as the basis for further architectural design research of contemporary relevance.
For Bagsværd Church Utzon captured his idea for the church in two sketches showing the transformation from a gathering on the beach to a congregation framed by an abstract landscape of tree-like columns and "cloud-vaults", realized as thin-shell concrete structures. Utzon’s idea was inspired by regular, Trade Wind driven clouds he saw whilst lying on a beach in Hawaii.
With the support of the Danish Institute in Athens and the Eleni Nakou Foundation, Manolis Iliakis made a research on Jorn Utzon’s Bagsvaerd church, which concluded in this exhibition.