When architecture plays chess

The Rolex Learning Center feature a very unusual game of chess! It will be host to the Chess Game, conceived by the artist Madelon Vriesendorp, whose chess-pieces are models of skyscrapers.

On a checkerboard, modern skyscrapers (black-and-white or geometric towers) and post-modern ones (colored towers of unusual shapes) are pitted against each other. Madelon Vriesendorp, with humor and a playful lack of inhibition, uses the scene of the game to represent the real-life combat between the various architectural schools of thought which have battled for supremacy since the nineteen-sixties.

This pertinent metaphor is made all the more interesting, thanks to the highly active use of this work of art. Inherently mobile, these tower-sculptures are actually real chess-pieces. Positioned at the entrance to the Rolex Learning Center, the Chess Game is a relational work of art which you can touch (gently), handle (with care) and whose elements can be moved around (with discretion).

The Chess Game at the RLC is the result of cooperation between several partners. Proposed by the Lucy Mackintosh art gallery in Lausanne, which represents Madelon Vriesendorp, this concept was conceived for the Rotterdam Architecture Biennial in 2009 by the artist and Kees Christiaanse, a Dutch architect who has worked at OMA, and who today heads the Department of Urban Architecture and Design at ETHZ. The Chess Game was produced by Matthias Kohler and Fabio Gramazio of the Department of Architecture and Digital Manufacturing at ETHZ.

The exhibition takes place at the Rolex Learning Center between February 22 and March 28.

Author: Frédéric Rauss

Source: EPFL