In the summer of 1927, the groundbreaking housing exhibition Weißenhofsiedlung opened in the southern German city of Stuttgart. The exhibition was the first of its kind, bringing together a new generation of functionalist architects, and it aimed to be a display of the new architectural style, also known as Neues Bauen. The prototype village in Stuttgart would prove to be one of the most influential architectural sites of the 20th century, and it has left its permanent mark on modern architecture.
The exhibition’s artistic director Ludwig Mies van der Rohe had two absolute demands of the 16 architects that he had handpicked: flat roofs and white facades.
As the construction dust settled, and the exhibition opened after a hectic building period of 21 weeks, it could be seen that only a third of the architects had built white facades. As a matter of fact, a key feature of a number of the houses was the use of various bright colours on the unornamented facades.
Mies van der Rohe, who had put forward the demand, built his own apartment building in a light shade of pink.
When the exhibition was to be documented for the best-selling catalogue, the photographs of the buildings were rendered in the black-and-white typical of the time. The photographs were shot in bright sunlight in the middle of the day, emphasising contrast. In spite of the colourful origin, the facades appeared in the catalogue pages in brilliant white, and created an image that is inextricably linked to functionalist architecture to this day: flat roofs and white facades.
Through his projects, Espen Gleditsch questions how historical events are communicated and perceived. With a research driven method he uses images, narrative texts and sculptures to explore historical events. Historical events where the distinctions between objective facts and subjective experiences are vague, and where the outcome has led to major consequences. The exhibition White Lies explores the premises behind the mediation of the ground breaking modern architecture of the 1920s by showing how photography has participated in changing modern architecture.
Espen Gleditsch (b. 1983) from Tønsberg, Norway, works in Oslo. He graduated from Kunstakademiet, The academy of fine art, Oslo, with an MFA in 2015, and has studied at FAMU – Academy of Performing Arts Prague. His works has been exhibited as solo shows at Haugesund kunstförening (2013); MELK, Oslo (2012); Spark, Copenhagen (2009), and has participated in several group shows including shows at Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin (2015); Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo (2015/2011); Haugar Vestfold kunstmuseum (2010/2014); Austin Centre for Photography (2014); Fotogalleriet, Oslo (2013). Gleditsch received grants from Arts Council Norway in 2012, 2013 and 2015.
Opening on Friday the 13th of November, at 17.00-20.00.