Designer and artist Pablo Bronstein presents over 50 original ink drawings of ‘pseudo-Georgian’ architecture built since 1975, exploring the style’s enduring appeal
Pablo Bronstein: Conservatism, or The Long Reign of Pseudo-Georgian Architecture, is the third in a series of RIBA commissions for the Architecture Gallery. Bronstein – responsible for last year’s Duveen galleries commission at Tate Britain – has created 50 new drawings for his exploration of buildings constructed in the second half of the 20th century, in ostensibly Neo-Georgian style. These drawings are displayed alongside rarely-seen historical Georgian and Neo-Georgian material.
Chosen by the artist from the RIBA’s collections, these archival works situate Bronstein’s drawings in the context of architectural practice through time. Bronstein collaborated with architecture practice Apparata (Nicholas Lobo Brennan and Astrid Smitham) to transform the RIBA’s gallery space into a domestic environment, which sympathises with the objects and drawings’ Georgian allusions.
Bronstein said: ‘With this exhibition, I am continuing a personal history of drawing recent buildings, focusing on an architecture so unloved, yet so endemic to Britain. It can be characterised as alluding to the Georgian, and has become a staple of every British landscape; it should be addressed as the most current British vernacular style. Yet its success, and its principal interest to me is that of its ability to successfully and economically pander to delusions about our past, and to flatter our vanity of wealth and class. It is an architecture perfectly suited to the last thirty years of our history.’
Born in 1977, Bronstein is an Argentinian artist who lives and works in London. His work spans from drawing to choreography and performance; always with a focus on architecture. The RIBA exhibition is curated by the institute’s exhibitions curator Shumi Bose, with assistance from collections curator Suzie Pugh and head of exhibitions Marie Bak Mortensen.
Earlier this month, a special RIBA Late event, ‘Reaching Peak Pastiche’, celebrated the themes and works within the exhibition, and featured a discussion between Bronstein and classical architect George Saumarez-Smith. This was part of an impressive wider RIBA programme including artist and architects’ talks, debates, film screenings, and workshops for families and children.