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  • Seeing Through

Pacteau, Francette, 2013, Book Section, Seeing Through In: On Perfection: An Artists’ Symposium. Intellect Ltd. ISBN 9781841507101

Abstract or Description:

Pacteau’s essay 'Seeing through' was developed from a paper she gave at the two-day international symposium 'On Perfection' at the Whitechapel Gallery in February 2012. The text focuses on the Farnsworth House, designed and built between 1945 and 1951 by German-born architect Mies van der Rohe. Often described as 'exquisitely simple and beautiful', it is commonly considered, in the words of the architect Peter Blake, 'as an abstract statement about structure, skin, and space [that] was meant to be, and succeeded in being, a clear and somewhat abstract expression of an architectural ideal – the ultimate in skin-and-bones architecture'. This small steel and glass house was built as a weekend retreat, on the outskirts of Chicago, for Edith Farnsworth, a single professional woman.
The issues addressed in ‘Seeing through’ can be expressed in the form of a question posed to the house itself: ‘what body does this house think I have?’ Making the claim that every house implies a body – physical as well as psychical – Pacteau considers the particular way in which the Farnsworth House’s architecture of transparency constructs a different kind of body. Operating at the intersection of modernist aesthetics, gender and sexual politics and biography, this text is part of Pacteau’s ongoing research into visual and textual representations.
The two-day symposium ‘On Perfection’ at the Whitechapel Gallery explored the ways in which artists and thinkers engage with ideas of perfection. Other contributors include Mark Godfrey (Tate Modern), Leslie Dick (CalArts), Charlotte Cotton (National Media Museum), and Jane and Louise Wilson (artists).
Published as part of Intellect Books’ Critical Photography series, On Perfection: An Artists’ Symposium was distributed in the USA by University of Chicago Press (2013). Further research developed from Pacteau’s essay is explored in the forthcoming book Private Property, published by Copy Press in 2014.

Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W600 Cinematics and Photography
School or Centre: School of Fine Art
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2013 11:54
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2016 22:22
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1410

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