Jimmie Durham: humanity is not a completed project | Room 12 & 13

The exhibition ‘Architexture’ at the Galerie Micheline Szwajcer in Antwerp in 1994 brought to light a line of investigation, particularly important for the artist from this period onwards, regarding the relationship between architecture, ideology and the text. Durham created the neologism ‘architexture’ by combining the words architecture and text, fundamental for the definition of European civilization, having served to legitimize and reinforce political power, as well as to perpetuate religious dogma. He continued to critique and subvert the monumentality of forms of sacred and secular art and architecture linked to political dominance over following decades, creating for example the series Arc de Triomphe for personal use, celebratory arches that are human-scale, light-weight and moveable. This sequence of the show partially recreates Durham’s spatial strategies in the ‘Architexture’ exhibition, which included amongst others the works The French guy (1994), Garçon, garou, gargouille (1994), Paradigm for an arch (1994), as well as an architectural intervention that involved lowering a horizontal wooden beam and labelling it ‘Templum’, pointing to Greek antiquity in the genealogy of the relationship between architecture and power. Furniture, PVC pipes used for plumbing and structural architectural elements were made visible and activated by Durham.

Jimmie Durham: humanity is not a completed project, installation view of the exhibition at the Madre museum, 2023. Photo by Amedeo Benestante