Architectural mindspaces

images2Often one comes across dramatic architectural projects that look like sculptures.
Architects are artists who have to be practical in addition to being creative and aesthetic.
Creativity goes a long way in determining the success of an architect.

Using space, whether it is in the two dimensional painting or a utilitarian object one needs a sense of balance in addition to the finer points of aesthetics. There have been architects who have been artists as well, two of whom are related very much to India. One, being leading artist, Satish Gujral and the other being Corbusier, who was responsible for the planning of Chandigarh. Both of them had a substantial body of paintings that have made them significant to the plastic art field. Another well known artist, B V Doshi also produced a body of paintings and prints though the quantity and reach was restricted.

Being an architect and thinking of space allows one great creativity and to extend it and think more sculpturally is best seen in the work of architect Frank Ghery as seen in the Guggenheim in Bilbao and the Los Angeles concert hall. However if artists have to think architecturally the output is different. They do not have to be practical and utilitarian. They can be conceptual, out of the box, intellectual and extreme if need be. They can be absolutely unreasonable and self indulgent as well.


Many artists have looked at space as a subject, over the years. Recently, looking at space from an architectural angle is an exercise that was undertaken by a group of artists in a curated show as a focused collection. It focused on a range of angles of physical space, to mindspace, to the treatment of the content in the space and purely space as an abstraction that were the delightful examples.

Using roof tiles from traditional tile makers, Akshay Rathore put together a large open full blossomed lotus, a land art work set in a water body. It was a lyrical dramatic sculptural installation. Another artist Julian Segard, used wooden scaffolding bits and found pieces of architectural wood members to create a collage of a memory of the origin of the building.

Uma Shankar Pathak a young artist of exceptional talent created a body of paintings using the metaphor of the zebra as a bridge to cross from the rural to urban space. Space, and consequently that which encloses it, are much more central to all of us in our everyday lives than purely technical, aesthetic or even semiotic interpretation would suggest. Space is both that which brings us together and simultaneously that which separates us from each other. It is thus crucial to the way our relationships work. Space is the essential stuff of a very fundamental and universal form of communication.

The human language of space, whilst it has its cultural variations, can be observed all over the world wherever and whenever people come together. Painters often focus on the three dimensionality of space in two dimensions while sculptors treat architectural space like an object. The overlaps are when architects become sculptors and create iconic utilitarian works and sculptors and painters move beyond their own space creating living spaces that are sculptural.