Curated diary: Ben van Berkel


Ben van Berkel, founder and principal architect of Dutch architecture practice UN Studio, picks his top events and exhibitions across the world this summer


1. 15th Venice Architecture Biennale, reporting from the front + Zaha Hadid retrospective
Various Locations + Palazzo Franchetti, Venice
Until 27 November

15th Venice Architecture Biennale
Photo: Luke Hayes

One reason to visit the biennale this year is to see the overview of Zaha Hadid’s work. But another reason that I think this year’s biennale is of interest is because of the themes it addresses regarding socially conscious architecture: an important and trending topic within the profession right now, but also one which raises many broader questions that also need to be answered.

2. Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room + Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life
The Broad, Los Angeles
Until 2 October

 YaYoi Kusama’s infinity mirrored room
Photo: Ben Gibbs

I am not only curious to see the overview of Cindy Sherman’s work and the infinity mirrored room by Yayoi Kusama - which sounds like a very intimate experience as only one person can enter the installation at a time - but I am also very much looking forward to finally visiting the museum itself, which was designed by diller scofidio + renfro.

3. Pierre Paulin
Centre Pompidou, Paris
Until 22 August

Pierre Paulin

Photo: Pierre Paulin, Fauteuil CM 170 dit tripode Cage, 1955 / Coll. Centre pompidou, Musée national d’art Moderne / Photo: Georges Meguerditchian

Pierre Paulin was a master of the curve in furniture design and created many iconic pieces for artifort. I have been following the brand for many years and have had the great pleasure to work for Kho Liang ie and artifort on several projects, so this is a ‘must see’ exhibition for me.

4. Unfinished: Thoughts left visible 
Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York
Until 4 September

Unfinished: thoughts left visiblePhoto:Rembrandt, the Great Jewish bride, 1635 / The Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York, H. O. Havemeyer Collection, bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929

Unfinished is the most fascinating exhibition I have seen recently and I can’t recommend it highly enough. From titian to pollock, the show explores incomplete works alongside the aesthetic of the intentionally unfinished. This results in a process of ‘imagining’ in the viewer’s mind, as the works almost demand that you complete them, and in so doing allow for endless readings and interpretations.

5. Master of Light - Robby Muller
Eye Film Museum, Amsterdam
Until 4 September

Master of Light - Robby Muller Eye Film Museum, AmsterdamPhoto: Eye Film Museum / Photo: Hans Wilschut

Robby Muller is a Dutch cinematographer who has worked for many great filmmakers, such as Wim Wenders, Lars Von Trier and Steve McQueen. he works like a painter of light: In his work for Lars Von Trier he paints with the camera to create contrasting effects that bring to mind renaissance painting. This exhibition also includes items from his private archive, such as video diaries, polaroid photos, letters, original scenarios and photographs of sets.

6. Helmut Newton - A Retrospective
Foam Photography Museum, Amsterdam
Until 4 September

Helmut Newton - A Retrospective Foam Photography Museum, AmsterdamPhoto: Ray Van Cleef Arpels French Vogue 1995 C Helmut Newton Estate

I would actually recommend watching the documentary called Frames from the edge before visiting this retrospective. After seeing the documentary I realised how humorous helmut Newton actually was and how seemingly lightly he dealt with his subjects - and this with his wife sitting next to him, all the while talking about the mundane details of their next trip or getting the right shots. The documentary gave me new insight into his work, which makes visiting such a retrospective even more fascinating.





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