James Frazer Stirling (1924–1992), is regarded as one of the most influential and innovative architects of the second half of the 20th century. With this exhibition, he is now being paid comprehensive tribute in Germany for the first time. It was Stirling who planned Stuttgart’s Neue Staatsgalerie which – built in 1977-84 – accordingly constitutes the single largest object in the show. Even today, this classical work of museum design is considered a milestone in architectural history.
More than 300 models, plans, sketches, photographs and texts, illustrate his oeuvre – works that were carried to realization as well as those that weren’t. The chronology survey leads from Stirling’s Liverpool period and critical explorations of Le Corbusier’s late work to his own architectural language of the 1970s and 1980s, which is known for its eclecticism and wealth of quotations.
Already on paper, Stirling’s architectural drawings have the capacity to evoke stimulating architectural imagery. Visitors to the show will discover such sensational plans as those for the Engineering Building of the Leicester University (1959–63), the British Olivetti headquarters (1970–74), or the Social Science Research Centre in Berlin (1979–87).
Under the heading “The ultimate aim of all artistic activity is the building” (Walter Gropius), the exhibition also takes a look at Stirling’s citation of architectural history and the various influences on his work. With architecture-related art from the rich holdings of the Staatsgalerie ranging in date from the Baroque (Giovanni Paolo Panini and Giovanni Battista Piranesi) to the modern era (Gerhard Richter, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Richard Hamilton and others), light will be shed on a wide range of references.
In conjunction with this show, Walter De Maria’s work “The Beginning and End of Infinity: The 25-Meter Rod” will be on view in the Stirling Hall of the Neue Staatsgalerie, the space for which it was created in 1987.
An exhibition of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal and the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven.