Museum of Modern Art, 25 March – 20 June 2021
Curator: Igor Španjol
In his conceptual, materially ephemeral projects that move between sculpture, architecture, and science, Tobias Putrih engages 20th century avant-gardes, in particular their utopian and visionary concepts of architecture and design. His works often take the shape of design proposals or models of existing architectural designs and historical ideas. Finding inspiration in the heritage of architectural experiment, such as the works of Buckminster Fuller, Friedrich Kiesler, and Yona Friedman, Putrih creates architectural modifications of public spaces (movie theaters, libraries, galleries, universities), constructing temporary environments from everyday materials (paper, cardboard, wood) and light. Jagged shapes, different levels, changing lighting are some of the elements composing the narrative path for visitors to his immersive installations, which the artist conceives as social spaces, as structures for creating and maintaining a sense of community. Putrih finds inspiration for his more minimal installations in modernist structures, emphasizing simple structures, the mechanics of projection, white planes, and pure surface space. Modernist perceptual architecture is a generative artistic paradigm for Putrih, who explores its various forms of absorption into ambience. Focusing on the evolving history of film-theater design, his installations incorporate on their surfaces both the purely perceptual constructions and more elaborate forms of atmospheric movie palaces of the past. In recreating the social architecture of projection in this way, mutable geometries and variable architectonics come to light. Positioned in sculptural form in temporary, adaptable architectures resembling screen-like partitions, Putrih’s envisioned screen surfaces become themselves translucent textural objects.
The exhibition offers a comprehensive view of the work Putrih has produced over the past two decades. At the conclusion of the exhibition, a catalogue will be published in collaboration with the Gregor Podnar and the Hatje Cantz publishing house.
Tobias Putrih (1972) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana with a degree in sculpture in 1999, and earned his MFA in sculpture and video in 2003. Prior to that, he had studied at Kunstakademie Dusseldorf under Prof. Tony Cragg in 1998–99. Putrih’s. art is included in numerous museum collections, including those of MoMA, New York, MACBA, Barcelona, Fondazione Prada, Milan, and others. His work has won many awards, among them also the main Slovenian award for current artistic production, the 2008 Prešeren Foundation Award. Putrih lives and works between Ljubljana and Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he is on the faculty of Program in Art, Culture and Technology – School of Architecture and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The exhibition is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Zavarovalnica Triglav d.d., the Gregor Podnar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Ljubljana, and BTC d.d.