Marlon de Azambuja’s Architecture of Thought Takes Root in Dubai
If you have to know the rules before you can break them, then Marlon de Azambuja is a master of the playbook of modernist architecture.
Born in Brazil and based in Madrid, Azambuja takes apart the components of modernism, abstracting its elements and seeking out patterns in everyday architecture from park benches to city sidewalks. If cities can be thought of as living, breathing organisms, then Azambuja revels in showing off the skeleton underneath it all. In his works he reinvents the techniques and tools of architecture to inspire larger conversations about urban life today.
For his solo presentation at Sabrina Amrani’s Art Dubai booth, the artist presents three sculptures from his “Edicts” series, named for the famous document by Le Corbusier that laid forth his design philosophy in 1951. Made from criss-crossing panes of glass on a sturdy foundation, these works call to mind a certain type of structure that is common in cities around the world—cheap, easy-to-build towers in a vaguely modernist vocabulary, which are especially present in rapidly rising cities like those in the Arabian Gulf and Azambuja’s native Brazil. Like Le Corbusier before him, Azambuja has a few ideas of his own to get across. He inscribes them directly onto the glass, but, much like the way we interact with architecture itself, only fragments of information are discernable depending on the viewer’s spatial relationship to it.
Sculpture is just one mode of expression for the artist, and at Art Dubai it is strongly represented in the “Edicts” as well as a piece entitled Centro di Gravita Permanente (2015) that recalls the lightbulb installations of Felix Gonzalez-Torres. In other works that span drawing, photography, installation, and video, Azambuja explores the way that the structures that surround us also shape us. If the urban center is the modern human habitat, what do these places say about us? Are we creating an ecosystem that truly fills our needs, or simply crafting spaces to contain us? Here in Dubai—a metropolis that sprung from the desert in the past few decades—Azambuja has found the perfect platform to start the conversation.