MMM, “Mies Missing Materiality”, has been the installation that architects Anna & Eugeni Bach, have set during a few days in November 2017 at the Mies Van Der Rohe Pavilion in Montjuïc, Barcelona.
It is well known that the current pavilion is a thirdy-year old reconstruction of the original 1929 building and, therefore, is almost a fake, a replica made in the same place, with the same sizes and the same materials.
The Bachs have therefore decided to explain this lier essence of the building, operating a transubstantiation that completely anhilated the celebrated combination of materials, colors and textures of the Mies project, both faithfully replicated in the reconstruction of 1987.
The effect has been intriguing, since it really seemed to be walking in a 3D model made on the computer, of those that are totally white because they are still missing the textures of the materials.
New technologies already allow real estate developers to use 3D glasses so that potential buyers have virtual tours within the projects and can choose colors and materials by testing the different combinations with one click. The experience of the de-materialized pavilion suggested, seemingly, alternative interpretations respect to the traditional image of this Miesian architecture, as could be understood listening to some visitors’ comments.
Surrounded by the candor of the installation, the so-called space experience of the Mies Pavilion, was substantially overshadowed by the sensorial experience, kind-of disturbing due to the contradictory disappearance / exaltation of the materic dimension of the architecture.
Bachs intallation han certainly not been a work of abstraction, on the contrary: visitors did not stop touching everything, almost as if to confirm the solidity of this -why not?- 1:1 model. Even the iconic cruciform pillars, once blanched, were visually merging with the walls in the background, in the same way as the body of the model Veruscha did against the walls of her house in her well-known body-painting experiments in 1966.
“Mies Missing Materiality” has been, therefore, an intelligently deceptive title, since materiality has not been lacking at all, in the same way that Christo and Jeanne-Claude hid monuments under colossal packings precisely to emphasize their physical presence.
Another installation was much more radical about Mies and it was the the 1: 1 replica, entirely made out of wood, of the Farnsworth house (yes, white in the original project) mounted by Manuel Peralta Lorca in 2010 in an art gallery in Santiago de Chile.
The Bach, on the other hand, have performed an irreverent entertainment, with an intentionally environmental cacophonic point, with which they have been able to shake the local (and not local) debate, generating an always necessary intellectual tension between doubts and certainties.
Here, in AxA webpage, you can find the original version of this comment. (in CATALAN)