The latest exhibition of the work of architectural photographer Iwan Baan is set to open at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany. As we first reported back in May, the exhibition Iwan Baan: Moments in Architecture, is described by the museum as “the first major retrospective of Baan’s oeuvre.”
The exhibition will be on display from October 21 to March 3.
The exhibition will center on Baan’s long history of documenting the growth of global megacities, exploring traditional and informal housing structures, and capturing buildings from prominent architects including Rem Koolhaas, Herzog & de Meuron, Zaha Hadid, and Tatiana Bilbao. Featuring a selection of material across all areas of Baan’s work since the early 2000s, the exhibition will include rarely published photographs of traditional and informal architecture across the world, including the round Yaodong villages of China and self-built multi-story dwellings in Cairo.
“What's important is the story, which is very intuitive and fluid,” Baan says about the work. “I am not so interested in the timeless architectural image as much as the specific moment in time, the place, and the people there – all the unexpected, unplanned moments in and around the space, how people interact with that space, and the stories that are unfolding there.”
The exhibition includes Baan’s extensive documentation of urban development in China, showing the contemporary facades of new buildings alongside the documentation of every life. Elsewhere, the work of acclaimed architects is captured through aerial views from a helicopter alongside perspectives ranging from panorama shots to detailed close-ups.
Baan’s wider urban documentation includes the exploration of booming megacities across all continents, seeking out “idiosyncrasies as well as recurring themes that range from urban growth to the modernist heritage, from globalization to local communities.” Elsewhere, Baan documents informal and traditional buildings across Japan, Haiti, India, and elsewhere, exploring historic housing practices that have adapted to local conditions.
“The rise of digital media over the past thirty years has fundamentally changed the world of photography and architecture,” the museum explains. “Images of new buildings become available in real time, promoting the rise of architects, influencing design processes, and making architecture a visual commodity.”
“No other photographer has shaped these developments as emphatically as Iwan Baan,” the museum continues. “Baan’s photography is quick, precise, and crisp – and it can be deeply human and poetic. He knows how to make a building look great, but he also captures the moments when architecture comes alive, when plans are made, when workers rest, when people move in or out.”
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