Ministry for All unclads Storefront's facade to expose the vulnerability of architecture
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Ministry for All unclads Storefront's facade to expose the vulnerability of architecture

Shifting the order of the inside-outside matrix, Ministry for All - a site-specific installation by Carla Juaçaba and Marcelo Cidade - bares the infrastructure of New York’s Storefront.

by Zohra Khan Oct 31, 2019

Architect Carla Juaçaba of the eponymous architectural studio in Rio de Janeiro, and Marcelo Cidade, a São Paulo-based artist, have collaborated to bring Ministry for All – a site-specific installation at the Storefront for Art and Architecture gallery - in New York.

Ministry for All at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York | STIRworld
'Ministry for All' at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York Image Credit: Nei Valente

The exhibition exposes the physical infrastructure of the gallery, where its concrete panels have been removed to reveal the inner workings of the building. While the construction materials like acoustic foam and plywood boards are exposed on the exteriors, its concrete covering on the other hand has been transported in the gallery interiors.

The exhibition undresses the iconic concrete panel facade of Storefront and transports it in gallery interiors
The exhibition undresses the iconic concrete panel facade of Storefront and transports it in gallery interiorsImage Credit: Nei Valente

Ministry for All draws its title from the monumental civil buildings by architect Oscar Niemeyer (1907-2012) and open plan layout by architect Lucio Costa (1902-1998) for Brazil’s new capital Brasilia – the city built as a modern utopia between 1956 to 1960. Being the new seat of the nation, Brasilia exemplified social, political, and economic development where its central district came dotted with larger than life buildings and a series of colossal concrete edifices flanked its central avenue – all manifesting into an urban fabric that featured a distinct space for every aspect of life.

Architect Carla Juaçaba and artist Marcelo Cidade
Architect Carla Juaçaba and artist Marcelo Cidade Image Credit: Nei Valente

While the Niemeyer/Costa interventions were imbued with a sense of stability, the composition and nature of the ministries changed from one administration to another, controlled by those in political power.

The exhibition undresses the iconic façade of Storefront to comment on the social and political foundations of the built environment, and to acknowledge the theatricality and vulnerability of architecture.

  • 'Exposed acoustic foam and plywood boards reveal the physical infrastructure of the gallery | Ministry for All | STIRworld
    Exposed acoustic foam and plywood boards reveal the physical infrastructure of the gallery Image Credit: Nei Valente
  • 'Exposed acoustic foam and plywood boards reveal the physical infrastructure of the gallery | Ministry for All | STIRworld
    Exposed acoustic foam and plywood boards reveal the physical infrastructure of the galleryImage Credit: Nei Valente

Juaçaba reconfigures the concrete panels inside the gallery, creating new spaces, forms and interactions. Through simple gestures, the installation extrudes the façade inwards, and offers a renewed narrative of its panels that are no longer performing. Cidade intervenes in the gallery’s protective shell, which includes cracks, dirt marks, and graffiti, and repurposes them into a composition that alters the space – challenging the way we look at the inside-outside relationship of buildings.

'The reconfigured concrete panels creates new spaces, forms and interactions within the gallery
The reconfigured concrete panels creates new spaces, forms and interactions within the gallery Image Credit: Nei Valente

The exhibition reflects upon the building foundations that frame identities of territories in which they are located, and though dug solidly into the earth, remain constantly in a state of flux by underlying systems of power.

'Ministry for All' at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York
'Ministry for All' offers a new perspective towards the inside-outside relationship in architecture Image Credit: Nei Valente
'Ministry for All' is on view at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York till December 14, 2019.

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About Author

Zohra Khan

Zohra Khan

A formal education in architecture combined with an avid interest in architecture journalism and design criticism led Khan to professionally venture into writing and research. She has worked in design communication for more than two years, generating content for mondo*arc india journal. When not writing, she kicks back by dabbling on social media for STIR.

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