When Dean Melbourne first came to see me a year ago whilst I was in my post as Practice Manager at BPN Architects, within moments he had tuned into the way that BPN work. The practice is unique in as much as they work with artists, not because they have to, or because it will tick a box to appease the local authority or because it will give them something to boast about after it’s been built… “we worked with an artist don’t you know”… (yeah… so what?) but because they see the value in how that relationship enhances their own working process. Architecture is an artistic process in itself so the two skills form a natural bond.
We’d initially met up with the inimitable Helga Henry to discuss the opportunity for Dean to show his work at 3 Mary Street, but as the conversation developed, rather than focussing on an exhibition as the first step, what resulted was a series of life drawing classes with the practice. 4 two-hour sessions in the office, teaching everyone at the practice to draw the human form. Once the staff got over the initial shock of having a naked man in the office, it brought them back to the very essence of what it means to draw. To look at something and to respond by making a mark on paper. It was a refreshing and gratifying experience and Dean reminded the architects and architectural assistants (and admin support staff!) how powerful drawing can be.
The experience was so valuable to the practice that an exhibition of Dean’s work was the natural conclusion. An exhibition prompts dialogue – people see beyond what’s on the surface, they discuss and share ideas, they look deeper and really think. Architecture works in the same way – it’s more than what you see, it’s about how it makes you feel. Architecture is not a ‘thing’, it reaches your inherent emotional senses, just like art.
Dean’s work obviously made the 60-odd people who came to his Private View feel as good as me because the response was phenomenal – I’ve deliberately not included many photos of his work because I want you, like me, to have your breath taken away by the power of it. It’s simply beautiful.
That boy’ll go far. Go and see for yourself – the exhibition is on until December during office hours.
If I can help you develop a link between art and architecture using my skills and my network, please get in touch.