Contemporary monuments are not longer static objects like neoclassical sculptures, but rather dynamic spaces that represent us. This is the hot topic of the David Adjaye: Making Memory exhibit, scheduled from 2 February to 5 May 2019 at the London Design Museum: a retrospective dedicated to Sir David Adjaye, a British architect born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents and one of today’s most influential figures.
The exhibit investigates the role of monuments and memorials in the 21st century, focusing on seven major works by the famous designer, like the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C., a symbol of African-American culture inaugurated by President Obama in 2016; the National Cathedral of Ghana in Accra; the Holocaust Memorial in London; the Sclera Pavilion created for the 2008 London Design Festival; and the public Gwangju River Reading Room built on the Gwangju River in South Korea, which invites people to come together and read literature about freedom and human rights.
The exhibit opens with a presentation of monuments and memorials, starting with the Acropolis of Athens and continuing through many locations, cultures, and ideas, finally arriving at the statue of Millicent Fawcett from 2018 by Gillian Wearing in Londra. Each of the seven selected projects by Sir David Adjaye is presented in a dedicated room together with specifically commissioned interview-videos and immersive videos.
“The Making Memory exhibit is intended as a provocation or as a question for the viewing public,” states Sir David Adjaye. “I’m not afraid of a narrative that unravels and creates interruptions. I find it to be far more representative of the collective conscience in which we all live today. I truly hope that the exhibit can be a vehicle for dialogue and discussion regarding what exactly makes up a monument or memorial at the start of the 21st century.” The architect stresses the new role of monuments today: “Monuments are no loner a representation. They are an experience of place and time that is accessible to all. Whether for a nation, a race, a community, or a person, they are truly used as devices for talking about the many things that afflict people from around the world. Democratisation does not mean that monuments cease to be relevant. Rather it requires that they transform, acquiring an intrinsic openness that can be addressed and understood from many points of view.”
Don’t miss the meeting with Sir David Adjaye on 11 February from 6:30pm to 8pm on the narrative and evocative power of architecture today.