Effortless Elegance, Pablo Bronstein
by Pieternel Vermoortel
In metropolis M, 2011, NO2
entire article available on the website of Metropolis M
10/06/11 – 25/09/11
In what appear to resemble dated drawings, Pablo Bronstein cleverly combines different building styles, from classicism to postmodernism. He applies this montage technique to create books, theatre performances and even a dance film.
As an artist, Pablo Bronstein (b. Buenos Aires, 1977) is equally comfortable taking on the role of architect, choreographer, architectural historian, antique collector and theatre director. It is a freedom that he allows himself in order to look at each situation separately, to see which role is best suited, but at the same time questions the position of the artist towards these professions.
In his drawings, Bronstein reworks with equal ease different architectural styles, such as eighteenth-century classicism, Baroque, neo-Gothic and postmodernism, with entrances from such architects as Terry Farrell, Michael Graves and Léon Krier to William Chambers, Filippo Juvarra and Carlo Rainaldi. The dated medium that he employs, his putting of these works in antique frames, and the morbid character of postmodern architecture placed in a landscape of ruins betray a subversive approach. Bronstein plays with the arrangement of eighteenth-century public space, particularly the public square that at the time was still the symbol of democracy and citizenship. Over the last few decades, we have seen how such locations have gradually been privatized and taken over by individual entrepreneurs, whose own buildings often strikingly also refer back to the same eighteenth-century architectural styles, without informing the public of its private character.
In the publication Postmodern Architecture in London, a project by Bronstein that was based on a visit to postmodern industrial buildings in London for the Frieze Art Fair in 2006, he consistently presented sketches of industrial complexes alongside their descriptions, which he took off the Internet. By producing summaries of these apparently public buildings and squares within the context and order of an eighteenth-century architectural almanac (it also even includes an A-B-C of postmodern details), he creates, entirely in the spirit of postmodernism, a stack of references and commentaries that cross-reference one another. In the bookshops, his guide often lands in the wrong section, between the city guides and architecture books, a mistake that Bronstein is fully able to appreciate.