Pablo Bronstein: We Live in Mannerist Times

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 3/31/2015, 3:45 p.m.
London-based artist Pablo Bronstein uses architecture as a means to engage with the power of history, monuments, and the built ...
View of Minton China Factory in We Live in Mannerist Times, 2015, ink and watercolor on paper in artist frame, courtesy of the artist and Galleria Franco Noero, Turin. Photo of drawing: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano

London-based artist Pablo Bronstein uses architecture as a means to engage with the power of history, monuments, and the built environment. Adopting the styles of a historical spectrum of architects and movements, from neoclassical designer Sir John Soane to modern master Aldo Rossi, Bronstein creates elaborate drawings of structures and devices that serve as plausible inventions. His art both pays homage to and critiques the iconic emblems of our architectural legacy.

Beginning April 15, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, presents Pablo Bronstein: We Live in Mannerist Times, an exhibition showcasing a series of the artist’s monumental line drawings and delicate architectural renderings. The Argentina-born Bronstein draws inspiration for this body of work from machines developed and used during the Industrial Revolution to manufacture mass-produced goods, as well as fine porcelain objects. The exhibition is on view in Houston through August 23.

For the exhibition, detailed black-on-white line drawings printed on vinyl will stretch from ceiling to floor to form a two-dimensional architecture within the Museum’s Alice Pratt Brown Gallery. Inspired by late-18th- and early-19th-century renderings, the cast-iron columns and beams depicted recall Liverpool Street Station in London. They comprise a sequence of images of machines and details, many derived from the steam engine, which was the most advanced technology of the time.

At intervals throughout the gallery, these serial drawings of gears and cross-sections of machines are interrupted by seven ink-and-watercolor drawings presented in gilded frames. These fantastical architectural renderings, inspired by the designs of Minton, Wedgwood, Worcester, and other popular 18th- and 19th-century English porcelain factories, evoke in these structures the fine objects they produced. Complementing these renderings are a small selection of porcelains from the Museum’s Rienzi Collection, displayed in cases throughout the gallery. These objects give three-dimensional context to the relationship between the factories and their products as expressed by Bronstein in his drawings.

Munich, the Tate, the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and many others.

Location - Pablo Bronstein: We Live in Mannerist Times On view from Wednesday, April 15, to Sunday, August 23, 2015 Alice Pratt Brown Gallery / The Caroline Wiess Law Building 1001 Bissonnet Street

For more information, visit www.mfah.org