June 25 – September 1, 2011
Frederick Fisher: The Circle and the Square
This site-specific installation by architect Frederick Fisher is organized in honor of the 10th anniversary of his building: The Bronya and Andy Galef Center for Fine Arts at Otis. For this installation, Fisher has physically and metaphorically superimposed a 142’ circle (the same dimension of Rome’s Pantheon and the Galef building square) in the form of a literal and metaphorical “ruin” of a wall into/onto the square footprint of the Galef building and grounds. The fragments of wall are wrapped with giant reproductions of images from Fisher’s sketchbooks from his time studying at the American Academy in Rome in 2008. This frieze-like appliqué is a recollection of the narrative murals covering the interiors of buildings, a tradition erased by the abstract plastic language of Modern architecture. Fisher’s primary study during his time in Rome was Italian museum renovations of the 1950's with particular focus on the work of Carlo Scarpa and Franco Albini. Fisher also took the opportunity to visit Roman buildings that inspired Robert Venturi to write his landmark book Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966). When Fisher first read this essay, it gave him permission to combine his attachments to history, the media of collage, and a contemporary aesthetic into his work. According to Fisher, “As early as my second year in architecture school I used Leonardo's diagram of the human body inscribed in the circle and the square for the plan of a crematory project. In Roman architecture, the circle was associated with temples and funeral structures and the Pantheon remains a sublime expression of this geometric purity.” This project is funded in part by the OTIS Board of Governors and supported by Becker & Miyamoto Surveyors and to Minardos Group.