Warburg Models at Blaker

May 29, 2021, 12:00PM
Guttormsgaards arkiv, Blaker

Architecture, interiors and technological systems were crucial for how Aby Warburg and his followers interrogated culture and memory. Between 1923 and 1958 this lead to six architectural projects. In Warburg’s native Hamburg a purpose designed building, theKulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg, was completed in 1926 to accommodate his remarkable collection of books, and a radical conversion was initiated that created a Planetarium for Hamburg in a disused water tower (1930). When the Warburg Institute transferred to London in 1933, this pattern of commissioning continued through projects designed by the avant-garde architectural group Tecton during the 1930s, and in the construction of the library’s present home at Woburn Square, Bloomsbury (1958). Between 2021 and 2024 this last building is also the subject of an extensive renovation project.

Through six hyper-detailed models at 1:75 scale, the exhibition shows how the Warburg scholars projected a tie between their own occupancy of architectural space and their shared ideas about intellectual order. The models work as monochrome sculptures, coded with the Modernist palette of colours used by the Warburg Institute to organise its collection of books. Each model emphasizes both the interior and the exterior qualities of the building portrayed. The Warburg models will be shown in Hamburg, London, and New York (2021–23).

The exhibition is part of the research project Re-inscribing the Warburg Institute at OCCAS, AHO. The graduate seminar Warburg Models is conducted by professors Tim Anstey and Mari Lending. The models are built by Pernille Ahlgren, Christian Tømmeraas Berg, Amalie Elvegård, Nora Kilstad, Anne Lise Ladegård, Pål Sanchez-Paredes, Silje Seim, Cathrine Sundem, Maximilian Svendsen, Karina Tang, and Mara Trübenbach. Discussion partners: Bill Sherman, director Warburg Institute, London; Uwe Fleckner, director Warburg-Haus, Hamburg; Dag Erik Elgin, artist, Oslo.


Originally posted May 28, 2021. Latest revision Feb 7, 2023.

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