Based on the My house is a Le Corbusier project, Cristian Chironi inhabits seminal modernist buildings around the world, restoring them to their original function as dwelling spaces, and finding within this extraordinary space of contemporary art, a way of resolving his concrete problem of not having a home to call his own. Over these experiences, the artist combines images with information as well as acting on prompts to create very personal interventions: assembling hybrid materials from the archives, using furniture from the houses where he stays with contemporary images to create a universe which gently, subtly tips a wink at the urban cityscape and architecture in general.
Chironi has disembarked at the Casa Victoria Ocampo as part of the BIENALSUR initiative, and will be receiving the public on a weekly basis as he delves into the anecdotes and stories of the personalities who gave life to the first rationalist-style house in Buenos Aires. The disparaging description of the house, according to its own architect Alejandro Bustillo, as a “scale model with giraffes,” is the point of departure chosen by Chironi for his own contribution. Creating a dialogue between collage, videos and installation, he offers up an eccentric portrait of the city’s urban landscape with the house inserted into as some sort of alien element grafted into a district that is overpoweringly neoclassical in style.
Le Corbusier’s sketches of buildings in Buenos Aires are “intervened” with photographs taken by Chironi over the course of his daily commute from his apartment to the house: the anarchic dynamism of the city expressed through a hopeless urban jungle populated by animals struggling to withstand the invasion of the air-conditioning units which proliferate in the city. In the same way, what Victoria Ocampo commissioned of the legendary Swiss architect, which never came to fruition, is used as a vehicle to create a fragmentary reconstruction of the existing building. A “maculate giraffe” appears repeatedly as a motif in the form of a rug, triggering surreal associations which hint at the house’s origins. In spite of overseeing the building work. Bustillo never agreed with Victoria’s stubborn insistence on having the construction in the modernist style while the rest of the city was at the time fully under the sway of French neoclassicism. Thus, the architect is portrayed in this exhibition as a book, squashed under a table, while a radiant Victoria Ocampo invites people in to inhabit her house.