Mathieu Mercier

Projet pour une architecture pavillonnaire, 2000

This work was part of a set of maquettes made in 2000 on the theme of suburban low-rise housing. This detached home, on a 9:10 scale, was shown in 2003 in the Espace 315 at the Centre Pompidou. The show house, as it was defined, offers the features of the standardized modern product: cheap, normalized, sold for immediate possession by catalogue. This “archetypal” prototype is here transformed: a grid, which is nothing less than a “grid”, is added to the house, and runs through it end to end. The grid is used by the artist as an essential motif of Minimal art and modern architecture: a purely conceptual and abstract element, and a rudimentary planning structure (permitting the rational and homogenized development of the building), the grid was also the object of a concrete representation in the 1960s (especially in the hands of the radical architectural group, Superstudio). By grafting this element onto the representation of the house, Mathieu Mercier plays on the relation between modern abstraction and hyper-figuration—stereotype of the suburban dwelling. For Mathieu Mercier, “these propositions also illustrate the real gap between economic project and aesthetic project. When standardized and divided up, these maquettes seem like stereotypes whose automatic elements are dictated by commercial, consumerist and identity-related parameters.”

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