Considered a leading figure in public art, Iranian-born artist Siah Armajani
merges architecture and conceptual art in his sculptures, drawings, and public installations. Informed by democratic ideologies and inspired by American vernacular architecture, his works include gathering spaces for communality, emphasizing the “nobility of usefulness.” His highly acclaimed public art and architectural projects have included bridges, gardens, and outdoor structures, that have been commissioned and presented worldwide. A retrospective featuring his artistic career spanning over more than five decades was recently on view at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and inaugurates in March at The MET Breuer, New York.
Taking centre stage in the exhibition, the large-scale installation Sacco & Vanzetti Reading Room #3
(1988) will unfold along its several comprising elements, such as two rooms, tables, chairs, and racks with books, magazines, and pencils noticeably arranged like spikes. The Reading Room
is designed as a functional and inviting space for the visitors of the exhibition to use. The books populating the space are by or about the poets, philosophers, and political activists Armajani has dedicated different works to, many from his Tomb
series. Initiated by Armajani in 1972, the Tomb
series include drawings and models, of which seven are also on view in the exhibition.
The list of authors includes: Theodor Adorno, Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, John Berryman, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, John Dewey, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Luigi Galleani, Emma Goldman, Hafez, Martin Heidegger, Thomas Jefferson, Frank O’Hara, Sylvia Plath, Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Rimbaud, Richard Rorty, Sacco and Vanzetti, Ahmad Shamlou, Henry David Thoreau, Alfred North Whitehead, Walt Whitman, and Nima Yooshij.
The Centre has selected books by and about the philosophers, poets, and political activists that Armajani has dedicated works to. During the exhibition, these will be part of the installation Sacco and Vanzetti Reading Room #3.
Interested individuals or groups may use the installation for reading groups or other events that respond to the displayed books.
For enquiries on programmes and school tour bookings, please email NTUCCAeducation@ntu.edu.sg
Siah Armajani: Spaces for the Public. Spaces for Democracy.
is curated by Ute Meta Bauer
, Founding Director of the NTU CCA Singapore, and Professor, School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
The exhibition is made possible by generous loans from the MMK Museum for Modern Art
, Frankfurt, and Rossi & Rossi
, Hong Kong.
Special thank you to Susanne Pfeffer
, Director, and Mario Kramer
, Head of Collection, MMK, as well as Fabio Rossi
and Josie Browne
, project liaison.
With gratitude to Siah Armajani
and Barbara Armajani