The Unmade Pavilion
The Unmade Pavilion (iron)
Rusted cast iron components, 2023
These cast iron multiples are based on Victor Horta’s plans for a colonial pavilion that never materialised. Horta designed the glass and iron Art Nouveau palace for the1900 Paris World’s Fair. He wanted the pavilion to be dismantled and sent to the African colony for Belgian administration offices after the exhibition. The pavilion was never made. This was not due to the sheer impracticality of sending an intricate construction to tropical Africa to be erected by forced Congolese labour. By 1900, King Leopold II’s colonial regime was facing accusations of atrocities. Horta’s pavilion was deemed inappropriately luxurious.
The Unmade Pavilion isolates shapes from Horta’s architectural plans to form object-fragments that do not slot together. These iron pieces are the building blocks of non-functional formations that can easily fall apart. The unidentifiable iron fragments are rusted and treated so that they stain their surrounding surfaces.
Versions of the cast iron multiples were sent back to Belgium to reside in the CIVA architectural archives in Brussels.
The Unmade Pavilion (paper)
Pages of the book Lost Libraries, Burnt Archives,
edited by Sindi-Leigh McBride & Julia Rensing, 2023
Lost Libraries, Burnt Archives contemplates what surfaces when a library is burnt, an archive lost, and what emerges from the ashes and ruins. For this publication, Sindi-Leigh McBride and Julia Rensing invited a number of varied responses to the loss of the Jagger Library archives through a wildfire in 2021.
The pages constituting The Unmade Pavilion (paper) work with the leftovers of the colonial archive and its connotations. Victor Horta’s plans for the 1900 Pavilion were reprinted onto fragile home-made paper, reproducing all of the messiness of the original plans. This print was then given to the editors of the book (based in Europe) to be reproduced as they saw fit.