by Martino Stierli and E2A
[…] ‘Miesology’ is a series of a dozen or so photomontages created by E2A with the help of their photocopier (the everyday representative of the age of reproducibility par excellence) and based on reassembly of fragments of Mies’ projects into new configurations. By using photomontage as a tool for spatial and architectural inquiry in such a way, E2A confronts and underlines an important point made by the German architect when he, inspired by Berlin Dadaist circles, started to make regular use of this technique from the early 1920s onwards: (visual) representation is much more than simply a post facto illustration, but rather a significant tool for conceptual and theoretical architectural research.
A rereading of Mies van der Rohe’s oeuvre may help to reveal its significance for contemporary architectural discourse. The historiography of modern architecture has tended to associate Mies with two main issues. On the one hand, he is considered to be the architect who pushed the idea of a flowing interior to its limit and thus paved the way for a modern conceptualization of space. On the other hand, given his background as the son of a stonemason and his non-academic training in a vocational school, he is seen as the ultimate representative of the tradition of the master builder, a craftsman whose own architectural language emanated from his intuitive sense for materials. By contrast, the role of visual media as a key element of his architectural discourse and production has been given scant attention. 2 However, these judgments should be reconsidered, for neither truth to materials nor mastery of space seem to be the real issues with Mies. Rather, the significance of his contribution to Modernity lies in two intertwined issues: 1) his command of (visual) media and 2) his appreciation of the fact that architecture is primarily about representation rather than space. Indeed, Mies’ fame is based to a considerable extent on the production and presentation of image architectures and architectural images – on what was often pejoratively labeled, not least by Mies himself, ‘paper architecture’. (…Read More)
Text _ Author: Martino Stierli, original title: Mies Replication, Notes on Miesology
This text was first published in the monograph E2A, Architecture ed. by Piet Eckert and Wim Eckert, Hatje Cantz, Berlin, 2012, page 8-21. All images: © E2A Piet Eckert und Wim Eckert