català / castellano


The architect armoire

The architect armoire is an installation that poses the relations that can exist between the personal and daily objects of an architect and his creative discourse.

From the emotive, functional or formal aspects of these objects, that surrounds and are part of his life, the architect develops an iconography that expresses in which way the artifacts can become a model.

Sets of photographic images, developed in the same way as the old cyanotype process (blueprints), are the main element of this installation. The photos, in a panoramic format, represent an imaginary built urban landscape where you can discover buildings with a variety of morphologies.

Although, the images on the photos express the capacity of exploration and introspection of this imaginary character, the installation includes some of his personal objects as well other ones that real architects have loaned for the installation in order to establish the thesis of this installation.

A video with images of real buildings brings a key about the verisimilitude of these experimental projects of the architect.


On the horizon limited only by our vantage point a singular architectonic spectacle comes into being, in twilight outline; a note on the transformation from earth to world brought about by the act of constructing. In reality, however, there is no such place. The window does not frame any real open space; it is all just a container for a photographic image unrelated to any real landscape. In fact, all there are are ordinary objects, laid out as in a still life, made to look like gigantic constructions. However, it is not just a simple, clever little piece of photographic sleight of hand. It represents a project, and a serious one at that. This is the only possible conclusion, in view of the universe of objects exhibited in “The Architect’s Cupboard”. These are the actual objects which, when photographed, formed the outline of that city of shadows. Together they amount to a vast collection of varied tools and artifacts, chosen by a group of architects for the inspirational quality of their forms. There would appear to be no hidden secret. We have before us a straightforward demonstration of how much an architect’s work can nurture itself in the formal possibilities which a handful of personal everyday objects suggest so eloquently.

The serene world of the physical objects of one’s intimate surroundings is broken up in the creative process. An active memory (mnesis, not hypomnesis) of reality lies behind every finished work. It presupposes the solidity of a logocentric construction; the immutability of that happy relationship by which objects are somehow present in their corresponding words, and the firm pulse of the real world beats within all its representations, and the things of life maintain an obstinate presence in speech. The figure of the architect is undoubtedly a perfect paradigm of this steady circular relationship. Through his work, the world grows. The little truths contained in objects find their expression and realization in his hands. We must rid ourselves of the temptation of thinking of the city as a refuge. It is not a place of silence but of speech. The root of civilization grows from this very understanding. The rising up of a city is a tremendous demonstration of truth becoming real. According to the inhospitable dilemma proposed by Giuseppe Zarone, “the spell of Utopia” is totally justifiable when faced with the shadows of “metropolitan disenchantment”.

However, a sneaking suspicion forces cracks to appear in this first reading. Perhaps the substantive element is not the Architect’s Cupboard, but the photograph itself and the image it engenders; perhaps the installation itself, exhibited with total respect for the parametres of the aesthetic, only simulates the explanation of a hypothetical working method. Perhaps the collection of objects simply represents a constellation of silence, unable to inspire the transformation of a murmur into anything. Perhaps the whole thing has been done as a simulation.

According to Baudrillard’s diagnosis of the contemporary world, the concept of simulation rests precisely on the evident impossibility of maintaining a logocentric illusion by which reality still beats undiminished in the heart of discourse. Simulation brings about the abolition of what is real, and becomes a substitute for that lost but not forgotten relationship with the world: “Simulation confuses the real with its model. There is no longer a speculative or critical distance between the real and the irrational. The real is not now projected onto the model; the real is transfigured in-the-world, here-and-now in the model. A fantastic short-circuit; the real has been hyperrealized. Not comprehended, not idealized, but hyperrealized. The hyperreal is the abolition of the real, not so much by the violent destruction of the model, as by its assumption, its acceptance by force.” From this point of view, no architectural project can find its inspiration now in an affective relationship with objects. Only a photograph - by its very nature the nearest thing to a metaphor for reality - is exhibited.  After having taken in some objects, digested them and then subjected them to a process which confers them with certain distinctive qualities while cutting them off from their original function, the photograph imposes itself upon us. The creative process is no longer the prolongation of what has been lived; it constructs another image, sustained in the outline of the objects, but without pretending to represent them. In hyperrealization, objects are  realized again, but without being comprehended. Now, all the objects displayed in the Architect’s Cupboard remain in silence, expire without being able to inspire anything in their gradual decay.

This hyperrealization, the creation of any non-representational image placed frontally to the real, justifies using all the strategies of verisimilitude. The appearance of a window opening onto a space outside behind which there is a panoramic photograph, the exhibition of objects chosen by actual architects, the presence of a monitor showing real architectural images related to the photographic simulation, even the use of the cyanotype positive - originally used in the reproduction of architect’s plans - all act as reference points which no longer try to preserve the presence of the reality behind the architect’s work. Rather, all the resources on display belong to the rhetoric of simulation with which the photographer guarantees to dissect that same reality in order to transfigure it.

On relocating our reading of “The Architect’s Cupboard” within the field of simulation, far from the happy state of any logocentricity, the distinctive features which have dominated the work of Jordi Guillumet until now are to be seen once again. His inclination for exploring different modes of constructed photography, the continuing insistence on deforming the image  and recovering old photographic techniques, resurface here in his work with Monica Rosello. Together they emphasize the borderline quality of the aesthetic act, as always located somewhere in that ill-defined area between truth and error.

Martí Peran