Open at London's Design Museum starting February 2, the “David Adjaye: Making Memory” exhibition showcases seven notable projects by famed architect David Adjaye that explore the concept of the contemporary monument and his approach to architecture and form being used as storytelling devices. While monuments are a way of remembering our triumphs and failures, their form and the way they're experienced are changing.
“Making Memory is set up as a provocation or a question to the public. I am not scared of a narrative that unfolds and splinters. I find that is much more representational of the collective consciousness that we all live in today,” David Adjaye said in a statement. “I really hope the exhibition is a vehicle for dialogue and discussion about what constitutes a monument and a memorial at the beginning of the 21st century.”
The exhibition starts with a visual survey of monuments and memorials throughout history, starting with the Acropolis of Athens (447 BC) and continuing through different places, cultures, and ideas, all the way to Gillian Wearing's 2018 Millicent Fawcett statue in London.
Adjaye then selected seven of his projects, which include a full-scale section of the Sclera Pavilion for the 2008 London Design Festival and a replica library area from the Gwangju River Reading Room in South Korea. Each project will be displayed in a dedicated room accompanied by commissioned video interviews and site-specific displays full of inspirational material; for instance, the Yoruba sculpture that inspired the form of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The exhibition will also reveal three of Adjaye Associates' ongoing projects: the Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Boston; the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre designed in collaboration with Ron Arad Architects + Gustafson Porter + Bowman; and MEMO - the Mass Extinction Memorial Observatory designed with Sebastian Brooke, which is proposed for a coastal site in Dorset.
“The monument is no longer a representation, it is an experience of time and place that is available to everyone. Whether it’s for a nation, a race, a community, or a person, it is really used as a device to talk about the many things facing people across the planet. Democratisation does not mean that monuments cease to be relevant; it requires the monument to be transformed, so that it has an inbuilt openness and can be approached and understood from many points of view,” Adjaye said.
“David Adjaye: Making Memory” will be open from February 2 - May 5, 2019. The Design Museum will also host a conversation with David Adjaye on February 11.
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