For the first time, the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart is comprehensively honouring the work of the British architect, teacher and Pritzker Prize recipient James Frazer Stirling (1924-1992). Chronologically, the exhibition presents Stirling's development from his early work in Liverpool to his engagement with Le Corbusier and his architectural language rich in quotations in the 1970s and 1980s. The more than 300 models, plans, sketches and photographs as well as previously unpublished archive material come from the "James Stirling/Michael Wilford fonds" at the Canadian Centre for Architecture and allow a new view of the architect's oeuvre.
Stirling's virtuoso architectural drawings in particular create suggestive architectural images on paper: Among them are sensational designs such as the Engineering Faculty at the University of Leicester (1959-1963), the History Faculty in Cambridge (1964-1967) and the Florey Building at Oxford University (1966-1971), which with their material mix of concrete, steel, glass and brick form a trilogy of radical buildings with references to Constructivism that is still highly regarded today. The exhibition also includes projects such as the British headquarters of Olivetti (1970-1974), whose repertoire of forms already refers to the New State Gallery; museums for London (Tate's Clore Gallery, 1980-1986) and Harvard (Arthur M. Sackler Museum 1979-1984); the Science Centre in Berlin as a "city within the city" (1979-1987); the competition for the Bibliothèque de France (1989) with references to the architecture of the French Enlightenment and the company building of Braun in Melsungen (1986-1992). Projects from a creative period spanning more than 40 years that have rarely been shown or have remained completely unknown show Stirling's creative interest in urban planning issues as well and provide evidence of the continuous development of his architectural language.
In Germany, there is no more suitable location for the first museum presentation of his legacy: initially accompanied by fierce controversy, James Stirling's masterpiece - the Neue Staatsgalerie - has since become a classic of museum architecture and the largest object in the exhibition that can be experienced in many different ways. The exhibition was set up in Stuttgart by Peter Daners and expanded to include architecture-related works from the collection.
"James Frazer Stirling - Notes from the Archive. Crisis of Modernity" is curated by Anthony Vidler, Dean and Professor at the S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union, New York. The exhibition will be shown in spring 2012 at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal.
The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue in English. Published by the Canadian Centre for Architecture and the Yale Center for British Art, in collaboration with Yale University Press and supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.