The Architecture of Desire

September 5 – October 22, 2008
I.D.E.A Space

The exhibition The Architecture of Desire takes Colorado College’s new Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center as its inspiration as well as its site. Created as a teaching and performance space for the arts, the Cornerstone building was designed by architect Antoine Predock with a very specific purpose: to inspire and facilitate collaborative creative activities. Using Cornerstone’s unique architecture as a springboard, The Architecture of Desire explores the idea that every building has a philosophy, a set of guiding principles that define its purpose and therefore its structure, by allowing or prohibiting certain movements or actions, a building’s structure in turn influences our beliefs and behaviors. Featuring site-specific installations by internationally renowned contemporary artists Cristina Iglesias, Runa Islam, and Lida Abdul, this two-part exhibition uncovers the ways in which architecture reflects our worldviews, shapes our actions, and constructs our desires.

Drawing from a variety of inspirations and materials, Spanish sculptor Cristina Iglesias creates architectonic spaces that mediate between industrial and organic environments. Structural influences include the perforated intaglio walls of a Moorish building, the camouflage proscenium of a surveillance hut, the enveloping canopy of a dense forest, or the contemplative protection of a medieval cloister. Created from natural materials such as twigs, sticks, and leaves that have been cast in a mixture of resin and bronze powder, Iglesias’ installation for The Architecture of Desire, Vegetation Room VI, tests the boundaries between industrial culture, the human body, and the natural world. Born in Spain in 1956, Iglesias was one of the youngest artists ever to receive a major exhibition at New York’s Guggenheim Museum in 1997. She exhibits throughout Europe, Canada, and the USA, and recently won the international competition to create new bronze doors for the extension to the Prado Museum in Madrid, which opened in 2007. Other major public commissions by the artist can be found in Minneapolis, Antwerp, and Barcelona.

Runa Islam creates film installations that simultaneously employ and deconstruct the languages and techniques of narrative filmmaking. Islam often uses architectural structure to reframe physical and narrative space; the length of a shot corresponds to the depth of a room or the height of a wall or constructed spaces may reflect the psychological spaces between characters. Described as a “reverie” of an abandoned building, the installation Scale (1/16 Inch = 1 foot) features a derelict building as a setting and main protagonist for a subtle, psychological drama. Islam was born in 1970 in Dhaka, Bangladesh and currently lives and works in London. A rising contemporary art star, Islam has been featured in the 2005 Venice Biennale (2005) and the 2003 Istanbul Biennial and recently had a large solo exhibition at the UCLA Hammer Museum.

Gallery Hours:  Tuesday-Saturday, 12:30-7:00 pm
The Architecture of Desire: Lida Abdul
November 3 – December 12, 2008
(Closed for Thanksgiving Break, 11/26-11/29/08)

Forced to leave Afghanistan as a child, Lida Abdul’s artworks address the ramifications of exile, war, and oppression. Her compelling images of bombed and ruined buildings challenge conventional thinking about architecture by forcing the viewer to confront the destroyed building not as a ruin or as empty space, but as an expression of architecture of absence. Born in Kabul in 1973, Lida Abdul left Afghanistan at the Soviet invasion in 1979. A 2006 recipient of the Prince Claus Laureate award, Abdul was the first Afghani artist to participate in the Venice Biennale (2005).

The Architecture of Desire is sponsored by: The Robert & Ruby Priddy Charitable Trust, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, and the Bee Vradenburg Foundation.


The Architecture of Desire: Reception + Curator’s Talk
Friday, September 5, 4:30 – 6:00PM

Enjoy light refreshments while you view the exhibition The Architecture of Desire. I.D.E.A. Curator Jessica Hunter Larsen will give an informal gallery talk beginning at 5:15PM.

The Architecture of Desire: Dr. Iftikhar Dadi
Wednesday, December 3, 2008, 4:30PM
Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center Film Screening Room

Dr. Iftikhar Dadi, Professor of Art History & Visual Studies, Cornell University, will give a lecture on the video and performance work of Lida Abdul. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Faculty Throwdown I: The Architecture of Desire
Wednesday, September 10, 3:30 PM, 2008
I.D.E.A Space in the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center

Join us as Colorado College professors Jonathan Lee (Philosophy) and Kathy Giuffre (Sociology) share and debate their interpretations of The Architecture of Desire.

The Architecture of Desire: Dr. Barlow on Runa Islam
Wednesday, October 1, 4:30PM, 2008
Film Screening Room in the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center

Dr. Melinda Barlow, Professor of Film Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, will give a lecture on the film installations of Runa Islam. The lecture is free and open to the public.

In her lecture, Professor Barlow will discuss Runa Islam’s film-based installation Scale 1/16 inch = 1 foot, currently on view in the I.D.E.A. Space, and will place this piece within the context of Islam’s other projects. Professor Barlow contributed an essay on Runa Islam to the exhibition catalog for The Architecture of Desire.

Melinda Barlow is Associate Professor of Film Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she received the Boulder Faculty Assembly Excellence in Teaching Award, the Gold Best Should Teach Award, and the Dorothy Martin Woman Faculty Member Award. A film and video historian who specializes in the work of contemporary experimental women film and video makers and has written extensively about moving image installation, Professor Barlow also researches the art of mentoring women, and has organized more than 20 local and national workshops on the topic over the last five years. An active critic at Sculpture magazine, her essays have appeared in journals such as Camera Obscura, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Millennium Film Journal, Art Journal, Performing Arts Journal, Art in America, Afterimage, American Theatre, and the Spanish animation journal Animac. The editor of Mary Lucier: Art and Performance (Johns Hopkins, 2000), Professor Barlow is the author of Lost Objects of Desire: Video Installation, Mary Lucier, and the Romance of History, forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press. She is currently working on a series of essays on experimental filmmaker and miniature theatre artist Janie Geiser titled Curiosa in Motion.


Lida Abdul: Reception and Gallery Talk
Monday, December 1st, 4:30 pm
IDEA Space, Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center

Join us for a reception for Lida Abdul, whose video works are featured in “The Architecture of Desire: Part II,” currently on display in the I.D.E.A. Space. Abdul was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1973. Displaced in 1986 by the Soviet invasion, Abdul lived in India and Germany before moving to the United States. She returned to Afghanistan in 2001; her subsequent video works address issues of war, exile and reconcilliation. Abdul earned a B.A. from California State University and an M.F.A. from the University of California at Irvine. Abdul’s work was recently featured in “Global Feminisms” at the Brooklyn Museum (2007). A 2006 recipient of the Prince Claus Laureate award for art and activism, Abdul’s works have been featured in the 2006 Sao Paulo Biennial, the 2006 Gwangju Biennial, the 2005 Central Asian Biennial and the 2005 Venice Biennale. Sponsored by the Robert & Ruby Priddy Charitable Trust, National Endowment for the Arts, NEH Distinguished Professorship and CC’s art department and feminist & gender studies.

Free and open to the public; no tickets required.

The Architecture of Desire: Faculty Throwdown II
Friday, December 12, 3:30 PM, I.D.E.A. Space
Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center.

Faculty throwdown is an informal debate/discussion with two Colorado College professors that is centered around an exhibition in the I.D.E.A. Space. Bob Lee, of the political science department, and David Torres-Rouff, of the history department, will debate their interpretations of the video artworks by Afghani artist Lida Abdul featured in the exhibition “The Architecture of Desire Part II.” Audience members are encouraged to join in the conversation; snacks will be provided.

Sponsored by the Robert & Ruby Priddy Charitable Trust, National Endowment for the Arts, NEH Distinguished Professorship and CC’s art department and feminist & gender studies.