On receiving the invitation from the Fundació Mies van der Rohe, I realized that my task consisted of intervening rather than exhibiting, of endowing the Pavilion with another dimension, of activating it in a different way. My research process led me to regard Mies van der Rohe from a personal viewpoint and the Pavilion as a built entity.
The other conceptual and perceptive dimension might be provided by smell as a point of reference. I decided that these two directions were inappropriate: neither his biography, nor the materials associated with the building
–marble, metal, hides, carpets and so on–, nor anything related to its construction.
The architectural report and the written history of the Pavilion constituted the lodestars that led me to react with a specific material: paper. This material forms part of architecture before, during and after the project, which in these times of ‘paperless architecture’ I felt we should
remember. The fact that the Pavilion was disassembled in 1930, after its exhibition and use, and reconstructed in the late eighties, poses issues of temporariness and permanence, of decisions and interpretations, all of which are put to paper–correspondence, permits, press releases.
This means that the Pavilion –its physical construction– existed when it was built in the late twenties and after 1986, when it was reconstructed. The project – he conceptual and documentary project– existed on paper during the intermediate period of this continuity. The ‘dissolved’ project, materialised on paper –drawings, photographs and texts– existed for over forty years, during which it was the only representation of the Pavilion.
The Pavilion’s architectural report, filed away, and the phenomenon of its existence over a long period in relation to paper and to printed documentation, led me once again to perception of the smell associated with time, archives, closed space and the olfactory experience.
The divulging and mediatic role of the Pavilion, and knowledge of it through writings, the press and bibliography, which has reached so many people, led me to another type of olfactory proposal.
March 5th, 2009 - May 5th, 2009
Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, Barcelona
Department of Architecture and Design, The Mueum of Modern Art, New York
Fundació Mies van der Rohe