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Review holds up mirror to Eisenman's narcissism


Ever read a review and realised 'that's exactly what I thought'?

So it was for me when I read Chris Platt's perceptive appraisal of Peter Eisenman's installation at Scarpa's Castelvecchio in Verona (AJ 16.9.04). Having recently returned from there myself, I was struck by how much Platt's observations concurred with my own. The installation is indeed disruptive in its setting, and is in stark contrast to the masterly sensitivity of Scarpa's earlier interventions, where the dialogue between old and new is genuinely beautiful and often moving.

I would also agree that the mounds themselves were not without interest, especially as I enjoyed the site of the local landscape subcontractor trying to manoeuvre his lawnmower across them, apparently muttering some Italian pleasantries about their designer.

Things didn't improve internally either, where Eisenman's video was remarkable only in its almost instantaneous ability to induce boredom in the viewer. I fear my old professor, a certain Mr MacMillan at the Mackintosh, would have been rather more succinct than Platt in his appraisal of such self-indulgent nonsense and, if presented with such a proposal, the hapless student would have been swiftly dispatched with some concise Glaswegian vernacular.

The installation is, however, not without its merits. It does at least lucidly demonstrate the fascinating difference between proper, grown-up architecture, and some of the egotistical narcissistic nonsense currently prevalent in some of the magazines today.

Kevin Cooper, Parr Partnership Architects

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