David Adjaye is subject of first major exhibition

Haus der Kunst in Munich and the Art Institute of Chicago join forces for "Form, Heft, Material", an in-depth survey of the acclaimed architect's career.

To celebrate his emergence as a major international figure in architecture and design, the work of David Adjaye will be the subject of a major survey exhibition – the first one for the acclaimed architect.

Form, Heft, Material has been jointly curated by Okwui Enwezor, director of the German museum Haus der Kunst, and design critic Zoë Ryan, who curated the 2014 Istanbul Design Biennial. It presents an in-depth overview of the architect’s oeuvre, including more than 45 completed and in-progress projects since Adjaye set up his international practice in 2000.

The Art Institute of Chicago describes his contributions thus:

Rather than advancing a signature architectural style, Adjaye’s structures address local concerns and conditions through both a historical understanding of context and a global understanding of modernism.

Haus der Kunst highlights his interpretation of “location-based architectural motifs and cultural norms to create projects that reveal and rethink societal patterns and modes of behavior.”

An engaging exhibition design with drawings and installations that visitors can physically explore, it emphasises the striking materiality and formal qualities of Adjaye’s work. It also illustrates how he develops a project from concept to realisation.

Having lived in Africa, the Middle East and England, and having travelled extensively studying buildings and styles – particularly in Africa – his work does not subscribe to a specific geographic or cultural aesthetic, as both art institutions point out. But he does look to bring to his projects a distinct "Afropolitan" view.

The institutions tell us to expect a “dynamic installation design” conceived by Adjaye Associates. It will include inspirational drawings and materials, models, films, large-scale fragments of projects and a section presenting Adjaye’s research on African metropolitan architecture.

Original research materials will also be presented in the exhibition – contributing to the understanding of Adjaye’s own practice as well as to the complex, yet underexposed history of African innovation in architecture, according to Haus der Kunst.

A new documentary film by Oliver Hardt, David Adjaye – Collaborations, has its premiere at Haus der Kunst as part of the exhibition, too.

The exhibition was supported by, among others, Design Indaba, the Ford Foundation, Albion Barn and the Zumtobel Group.

Form, Heft, Material will be at the Munich museum Haus der Kunst from 30 January – 31 May. The exhibit was organised by Haus der Kunst and The Art Institute of Chicago, where the exhibition will be on view from 19 September, 2015 – February 7, 2016.

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