Teatro dell’architettura Mendrisio from the Università della Svizzera italiana presents an exhibition WHAT A MADNESS OF SEARCHINGwith Aglaia Konrad, Armin Linke and Bas Princen, from April 7 to October 22, 2023, promoted by the USI Academy of Architecture, curated by Francesco Zanot.

Through a selection of photographic works by Aglaya Konrad (Salzburg, 1960) Armin Linke (Milan, 1966) and Bass Prince (Zeeland, 1975), the project explores the relationship between architecture and photography, and between the latter and the context in which it is displayed, focusing on the complexity of the weave that places the works at the center of a continuous process of negotiation between the object and the exhibition space.

The exhibition questions the documentary function of photography, understood here as a tool that simultaneously records and processes reality, and at the same time contradicts its concept of a two-dimensional image, exploring its materiality, body and presence.

IN WHAT A MADNESS OF SEARCHINGimages are objects and as such maintain relations both with the space inside the frame and with the space outside. Both the inside and the outside are part of the work of the photographers participating in the exhibition, which means both their research and radical revision.


Designed specifically for the space Mendrisio Theater of ArchitectureExhibition WHAT A MADNESS OF SEARCHING is an original project combining the photographic works of three international artists who work with this medium with different methods and approaches. Showcasing some 50 works created by authors in different places and times with equally heterogeneous goals, the exhibition explores the intersections between photography and architecture, represented space and exhibition space.

Inspired by an essay by the British neuroscientist Francis Crick of the same title, the title of the exhibition introduces the theme of intersections, combinations and coincidences as the primary enrichment factor of the whole system, favoring exchange (multitude) over isolation (uniqueness). ). IN What a crazy chase (1988) Crick wrote: “In nature, hybrid species are usually sterile, but in science it is often the other way around. Hybrid subjects are often surprisingly prolific, while a scientific discipline that stays too pure tends to wither.”

In the artistic practices of the three authors, the internal space of the frame and the external space become the subject of research, but also of radical revision through photography. Each work or series of works launches new interpretations of objects already subjected to the processes of representation and interpretation, introducing successive layers of meaning that intersect with the previous ones. Instead of depicting (once and for all), photography sets off a chain reaction of redesignation which, at least theoretically, is endless. The photo fires up and restarts. It’s a matter of intersections, interactions, overlaps, reactions, interference.

In the photo cycle shaping stones, Aglaya Konrad combines the buildings of famous architects with anonymous works, both ancient and modern, linked by the use of the same material and representation, black and white photography, which makes it possible to obtain an amalgam as coherent as it is foreign to any recognized category.

Armin Linke reuses pre-existing photos in his archive, taken around the world during his career. He mixes them together to create a new narrative that transcends the production’s original context, challenging the very notions of chronology, linearity, history, and uniformity.

Bass Prince he photographs other performances, wondering what will happen to them when they are duplicated and transformed into two-dimensional images. In his work, the details of existing elements, such as paintings, objects and photographs, usually taken as a whole, are subjected to a further process of interpretation, resulting in new, independent images that may detach from the original. The artist also questions the very two-dimensionality of photography through a printing technique based on relief and endowed with an extraordinary sculptural quality.

exhibition route, occupying two floors, it is configured as a juxtaposition and recombination of works that intertwine with each other to take on new meanings and interpretations. While Bas Princen’s works printed on rice paper give the photographs contours and solids, Aglaia Konrad’s paintings adapt to the surface of the wall on which they are glued, and Armin Linke’s photographs fully exploit the architectural features of the exhibition space through devices extracting rhythm, materials and technique, alluding to dialogue resolved in the characteristic form of “installation choreography”.

WHAT A MADNESS OF SEARCHING challenges any attempt to simplify photography in order to convey its complexity and layering. Considering the theme of housing, the works in this exhibition share a similar relationship with the Teatro dell’Architettura in Mendrisio: they not only occupy the space, but make it their home.