Södrakull Frösakull : Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery, Columbia University NYC 2011

Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery 2011 ©Mikael Olsson


Photography, Voyeurism and Abject Modernism

The exhibition presents Mikael Olsson’s photographs of two houses by Swedish designer and architect Bruno Mathsson: the summer house at Frösakull built in 1960 and the house at Södrakull built in 1964 and 1965.

Over the last decade Olsson has repeatedly visited, studied, photographed and intermittently occupied these two Mathsson houses that were abandoned and in disrepair. Olsson’s project contends with the legacy of Mathsson’s work in Sweden and internationally, while operating on the relationship among architecture, photography and preservation.

The project explores the condition of these houses that meet their first act of preservation through photography, while questioning what may be neglected or erased through subsequent repair and reoccupation.

Olsson’s fastidious attention to the houses’ design and to the residue of their occupation delivers an archeology of both Swedish modernist domesticity and Mathsson’s own inhabitation. The houses display a characteristic obsession with air, sun and oxygen, and performed for Mathsson as setting for his interests in naturism, fitness and nudism.
In this sense the photographs provide a condensation of modernist biologically oriented preoccupations, for which the houses are an extreme Swedish concentrate.

A public seminar with the artist, architectural historian Beatriz Colomina, Director of Exhibitions Mark Wasiuta and Dean of Columbia University Mark Wigley was held in the gallery prior to the opening.

Exhibit 20 works.