Oskar Hansen: Open Form
Yale School of Architecture, New Haven
An exhibition highlighting the work of Oskar Hansen (1922-2005), architect, urban plan-ner, and theorist, will open at the Yale School of Architecture (YSoA) on 1 September 2016.
"Oskar Hansen: Open Form" traces the evolution of Hansen’s theory of Open Form from its origin in his own architectural projects to its application in film, visual games, and other artistic practices. The exhibition will be on view at YSoA through 17 December in Paul Rudolph Hall, 180 York St. It is free and open to the public Monday-Friday 9.00- 5.00, and Saturday 10.00-5.00.
Hansen was a member of Team 10, the architectural group that formed the first critical voice against the modernist orthodoxy of the Athens Charter and the followers of Le Corbusier. In his Open Form theory, Hansen proposed parting ways with the model of the all-knowing expert. His theory is aimed at the participation, process, and change of hierarchy between an artist and viewer, and embraces art-as-process, engaging the viewer, recipient, and user.
Hansen presented his Open Form theory at Team 10’s founding meeting - the International Congresses of Modern Architecture (CIAM) in 1959 - and continued to develop it through projects on various scales: from exhibition designs, temporary pavilions, and housing estates, to his Linear Continuous System, a project to establish decentralized cities running throughout Poland and the European continent. Regardless of the scale to which it was applied, the Open Form theory was intended to develop strategies of indeterminacy, flexibility, and collective participation.
For Hansen the role of architect in shaping the space was limited to the creation of a “perceptive background.” The architecture was supposed to expose the diversity of events and individuals present in the space. By focusing on the process, subjectivity, and the creation of contexts for individual expression, Hansen believed, architecture became a tool that can be used and transformed by its users, and adapted easily to their changing needs. During Hansen’s tenure at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts from 1952 to 1983, he passed on his theory of Open Form to generations of students, encouraging them to pursue art practices beyond traditional disciplines.
The exhibition at the YSoA is the third edition of a show curated by Soledad Gutiérrez, Aleksandra Kędziorek, and Łukasz Ronduda of Poland. It is organized and produced by the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw in collaboration with Culture.pl as part of the Campus Project. The exhibition was designed by Centrala. The show was previously
exhibited at Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona in 2014 and at the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto in 2015.
A related symposium titled “Transit Point: Mitteleuropa” will take place Sept. 8-9 at YSoA. The event is organized by Kędziorek and Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen, associate professor of architecture at Yale, and supported by the J. Irwin Miller Fund.