Louisiana Museum of Modern Art features drawings by avant-garde architect Sir Peter Cook

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Louisiana Museum of Modern Art features drawings by avant-garde architect Sir Peter Cook
Peter Cook, Urban Retreat, 2018. Print on paper, 42 x 59,4 cm © Peter Cook.

HUMLEBÆK.- The first exhibition at Louisiana in 2022 presents the British avant-garde architect Sir Peter Cook. City Landscapes is part of the exhibition series Louisiana on Paper. The show featuring drawings by Peter Cook marks the first exhibition in the series showcasing drawings by an architect. The exhibition shows how Cook, with drawing as his most important tool, over six decades has influenced and inspired architecture with his visionary ideas about new cities and life forms.

Peter Cook (b. 1936) has made his mark as one of the most important architects of our time largely by virtue of his architectural theory and vision. His work as an architect lives mainly in drawings while the number of projects being built, one being Kunsthaus Graz in Austria, is less extensive.

Visions of the future are most clearly expressed and can best be discussed in drawings, Cook contends. Paper provides an ideal opportunity to shake up conventional notions of cities and life forms, free from the demands and obligations of concrete solutions and materials.

Notes on architectural themes

The exhibition is structured chronologically, interrupted only by the theme ‘Towers’, which is a building typology Cook has returned to over the years. With offers for reconstruction of existing skyscrapers as well as more utopian towers, named after places he has stayed in for longer periods - Oslo Towers, Santa Monica Hotel and São Paulo Tower. His most recent drawings from the period 2010-21 lead the narrative all the way to the present.

According to Cook, the exhibited drawings can be seen as notes to architectural themes that have mattered to him. Each is a collage of ideas and methods; attempts to communicate about architecture through drawing. The drawing technique has always grown out of the overall idea of ​​the project.

All exhibited drawings are part of Cook's own collection, and the texts describing the drawings in the exhibition are written by Cook himself.

New ways of shaping and inhabiting cities

Looking closely at the seemingly complex jumble of his drawings, you discover spaces, building elements and people inhabiting the organic landscapes and everything is rendered precisely and to scale. The template is often a black and white original, which is copied onto, for example, watercolour paper, and subsequently coloured with watercolour, pencil or gouache.

Cook’s drawings should be seen as projects – proposals for new ways of shaping and inhabiting cities. This is a recurring feature in his work, going all the way back to the 1960s and 1970s when as founder of the neo-futurist architectural group Archigram he and the other members of the group devised new and provocative ways of envisioning the city of the future. In drawings and collages, Archigram introduced concepts like Plug-in-City, Walking City and Instant City. A major voice in architectural innovation and debate, Cook and the rest of the group sowed seeds that have grown into outstanding buildings.

Curators: Kjeld Kjeldsen and Mette Marie Kallehauge

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