Always After (The Glass House) | Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle


April 4 – May 1, 2013 | Littman Gallery

Reception: Friday, April 26, 2013 | 7–9pm

Curated by Dr. Isabelle Loring Wallace (Associate Professor of Contemporary Art and Theory, University of Georgia) and Nora Wendl (Assistant Professor of Architecture, Portland State University)

The exhibition Always After (The Glass House): Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle presents the work of Chicago-based, MacArthur-award winning artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, whose technologically sophisticated sculptures and video installations engage modern architecture, while at the same time using this architecture as metaphor. In this exhibition, specially curated for Littman Gallery, two important works from Manglano-Ovalle’s oeuvre will be on view: the enigmatic video Always After (The Glass House), 2006 and the large-format print, House with Four Columns, 2010. As architects and aficionados may know on the basis of the artist’s titles, both works are concerned with important glass buildings by Mies van der Rohe, but, in each case, the buildings come to us in a form we do not recognize, in a state we cannot immediately comprehend. Always After (The Glass House) depicts S. R. Crown Hall at the Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago, IL, 1956), but does so obliquely and in ways that suggest its ruination, documenting and re-presenting a 2005 ceremony in which its glass was destroyed prior to a much-needed renovation. Conversely, House with Four Columns directs our attention to van der Rohe’s 50 x 50 House – a structure that does not exist, despite being realized by Manglano-Ovalle in this mysterious photograph, which is at the same time the inverted documentation of an earlier work by the artist – Gravity is a Force to be Reckoned With, 2009 – in which he fabricated and brought to life this uninhabited and arguably uninhabitable hermetic, glass structure. Linked through their engagement with Mies’ architecture, these works are all further aligned in tone: melancholic and inaccessible, intriguing and unforthcoming, they testify to architecture’s seduction and elusion in equal measure and offer spectators the opportunity to think again about the buildings we presume to know. Indeed, in Manglano-Ovalle’s hands, iconic architecture is artfully estranged and thereby assumes novel and unanticipated utility. 

Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle will deliver a gallery talk at the opening reception of Always After (The Glass House) on Friday, April 26 from 7 – 8.30 p.m., as part of the School of Architecture symposium Strange Utility: Architecture Toward Other Ends taking place April 26-27, 2013 in Shattuck Hall Annex. Schedule and ticket information can be found online. The symposium, Strange Utility: Architecture Toward Other Ends, is made possible by the generous support of the School of Architecture at Portland State University, The University of Georgia, Athens, and Portland State University Speakers Board.