Teorema 001: Grandfather Wall House by John Hejduk 1966-76

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Teorema 001: Grandfather Wall House by John Hejduk 1966-76

The drawings of John Hejduk are of particular interest in their attempt to revivify the mystical modernist faith in the meaning of abstract spatial signals by matching the convention of pictorial flatness to the ground plan of architecture. The drawing thereby enforces in the imagination spatial perceptions which ironically can’t be controlled in the actual experience of architecture. The plan commences a dialogue with the elevation on the surface of the drawing: the shapes of the rooms in the plan recall those of the clouds in the elevation; the wall in the elevation refers to the concrete walk shown in plan in front of the wall. Up and down, earth and sky, lose their accustomed positions. Instead, the fundamental positions in space are defined by reference to the wall, which here coincides with the plane of the drawing. We are directed frontally against the plane of this very long wall with an axial precision impossible to achieve in reality. We are forced to imagine the different states of approaching and dwelling, of freedom and containment, of our eventual isolation, which neither perspective views nor the building itself could evoke in the same way. The function of drawing in creating the new architecture of imagination is nowhere more explicit than in this work.

Richard Pommer, Structures for the Imagination, Art in America, March/April, 1978. This text was republished by John Hejduk in Mask of Medusa, New York 1985.

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