Gallery Guest: HEAD – Genève / CENTRO Mexico City

Photographs from the workshop
»Appropriate Barragán« led by Bas Princen

29.09.2023 – 07.04.2024

Barragán Gallery, Vitra Schaudepot

Opening: 28 September 2023, 6.30 pm

As part of a partnership formed in 2022 between the Vitra Design Museum and the Barragan Foundation, the archive of Mexican architect Luis Barragán (1902–1988) was transferred to new premises at the Vitra Schaudepot. This move was accompanied by the creation of the Barragán Gallery, a public exhibition space that offers insights into the architect’s life and work. From 29 September 2023 to 7 April 2024, a new presentation at the Barragán Gallery showcases photographs made by students from the Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD – Genève) and the CENTRO School of Design, Film and Digital Media in Mexico City. The images were produced as part of the joint workshop »Appropriate Barragán« led by photographer Bas Princen.

Luis Barragán’s architecture has gained wide renown due in no small part to the circulation of a limited number of carefully selected photographs. These photographs, realized by Armando Salas Portugal in close collaboration with the architect, have created a particular perception of Barragán’s work. They attach a distinctive aura to Barragán’s spaces and contributed to their iconic status by emphasizing characteristics such as light, colour and form. One could even postulate that Barragán designed spaces with the eyes of his photographer in mind.

The workshop »Appropriate Barragán« led by photographer Bas Princen in summer 2022 brought together design students from HEAD – Genève and CENTRO Mexico City in a joint project to experience, analyse and interpret major architectural works by Luis Barragán through the medium of photography. They captured some unexpected views of two well-known buildings, the Barragán House and the Prieto López House (also known as Casa Pedregal), producing distinctive visual impressions of intimacy, space, lighting, architectural details, and traces of habitation.

Research for the trip commenced with a visit to the Barragán Gallery in Weil am Rhein, along with an introduction to the architect’s own collection of photographs, which is preserved in the Barragán Archive. At the conclusion of the workshop in Mexico City, the students collectively created a unified presentation of their studies, with each student proposing a selection of images to be displayed in specific dimensions. This setting is replicated in the exhibit of the respective works in the Barragán Gallery.

The opening will take place on Thursday, 28 September 2023, at 6.30 pm, in conjunction with the second Barragán Lecture of the Vitra Design Museum. In his talk entitled »Surface, Space, Image«, the Barragán Archive’s curator Martin Josephy examines the close relationship between architecture and photography in Luis Barragán’s work. The lecture will be followed by a conversation with Bas Princen. Admission is free for this event, which will be held in English, and registration is not required.

The presentation and the lecture are part of the initiative to open the Barragán Archive for research and collaborations, which will be continued in the coming years.