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Cities of Artificial Excavation: The Work of Peter


Eisenman, 1978-1988
2 March to 19 June 1994, Main Galleries
exhibitions

http://www.cca.qc.ca/en/exhibitions/17-cities-of-artificial-excavation-the-work-of-peter-eisenman

14/07/2015

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Model of Peter Eisenman's exhibition installation at the CCA

Peter Eisenman, Phyllis Lambert, and Philip Johnson during the opening of Cities of Artificial Excavation

De-installation of the exhibition

http://www.cca.qc.ca/en/exhibitions/17-cities-of-artificial-excavation-the-work-of-peter-eisenman

14/07/2015

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Cities of Artificial Excavation: The Work of Peter Eisenman, 1978-1988 explores how American architect and writer Peter
Eisenman questioned the concept of site, and demonstrates the importance of drawing and modelmaking in generating
his ideas.
The exhibition reveals the richness and complexity of the design process by looking carefully at Eisenmans drawings and
models for four key works: the submission for the International Design Seminar in Cannaregio, Venice (1978); the
submission to the South Friedrichstadt housing competition of the Internationale Bauausstellung, Berlin (1980-81); the
project for the University Art Museum for California State University in Long Beach (1986); and the Chora L Works, a
garden for the Parc de La Villette in Paris (1985-1986). Through drawings and models for these and related projects, the
exhibition demonstrates how an investigation of site became a primary strategy for Eisenman, informing his proposals,
his built work, and his ongoing criticism of the discipline of architecture.
To Eisenman, the site was a locus of possibilities. In designing the 1978 Cannaregio project, Eisenman superimposed
several sites: the existing place where the town square was to be built; a project for Venice designed by Le Corbusier in
1964-65; and one of his own projects, House 11a. The result was a shifting, discontinuous design of great topological
complexity, realized through a drawing method tracing that Eisenman would frequently use in future excavations.
For the 1980-81 Berlin project, he proposed a public garden and building that incorporated both the history of the
Friedrichstadt site and a fictitious anti-memory of Berlin. For the 1986 Long Beach project, he overlapped, on different
scales, six maps, recording significant site conditions at dates in both the past and the future. For the Parc de La Villette,
realized in collaboration with the philosopher Jacques Derrida, he discovered analogies between the canal and
slaughterhouses of the actual site, the grid of follies designed for the park by Bernard Tschumi and his own project for
Cannaregio.
The exhibition is curated by Jean- Franois Bdard. Peter Eisenman himself designed the exhibition, making the
installation a work of architecture in its own right.
In collaboration with Rizzoli International Publications, the CCA published a 216-page, fully illustrated English catalogue
with over 200 images, more than 150 in colour. The book includes theoretical texts by Peter Eisenman to accompany his
projects, as well as essays by Alan Balfour, Yve-Alain Bois, Jean-Franois Bdard, Jean-Louis Cohen, Kurt W. Forster, K.
Michael Hays, Arata Isozaki, and Fredric Jameson. To complement this catalogue, the CCA produced a French publication
of approximately 48 pages, which includes an essay by Jean- Franois Bdard.
Credits:
Jean-Franois Bdard, CCA, exhibition curator
Peter Eisenman, exhibition designer
Keywords:
Peter Eisenman, site, drawing, model, Parc de La Villette, Berlin, Venice, California, Jacques Derrida, Le Corbusier,
Bernard Tschumi
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http://www.cca.qc.ca/en/exhibitions/17-cities-of-artificial-excavation-the-work-of-peter-eisenman

14/07/2015

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http://www.cca.qc.ca/en/exhibitions/17-cities-of-artificial-excavation-the-work-of-peter-eisenman

14/07/2015