64 silver gelatin prints, 20×25 or 32×40 cm (unframed) and text. Photographed in France in spring 2009, and autumn 2010, during the ongoing restoration process of Villa E.1027, Maison en Bord de Mer, and based on the series of photographs by Eileen Gray and Jean Badovici, first published in a special issue of the journal L’Architecture Vivante from 1929.
Welcome (To The Teknival) examines the process of restoration currently taking place at Eileen Gray’s Villa E.1027 in Roquebrune Cap Martin. The project is a re-visit to the site where I worked on a previous project, the slide installation Untitled (Schindler/ Gray). Since I finished that project in 2006, a restoration process of Eileen Gray’s villa was initiated. As a continuation, or conclusion to my former work, I obtained permission from the Chief Architect of Historical Monuments in France, to follow and document the restoration which is the latest chapter in the complicated life of this building. The classical approach to restoring a historical monument is to bring it back to its state when it first stood finished. In this case however, the house will also contain five of the nine murals that Le Corbusier painted there in the late 1930’s without the permission of Eileen Gray. These much disputed murals play an important role asreference to the convoluted history of this site, and without their presence the house might not still exist. Taking as a starting point the series of images that Eileen Gray and Jean Badovici (her collaborator on the house) published for the first time in 1929 in a special issue of the architectural journal L’Architecture Vivante, I am producing an ongoing series of new photographs that reposition these images in time. The first series was made in 2009 and the second in 2010. These are remakes of the original images from the portfolio, and function to document the restoration process, as well as their own restaging. The restoration work begun in late 2008 is projected to last until 2012. The title of the project is a citation of another piece of graffitti from the 1990’s, during which time squatters occupied the house on several occasions. As a first step in the restoration this graffitti is now half erased by a layer of black paint. Following are examples of the images produced during visits to the site so far, about half way through the restoration process. A last chapter to the project will be produced around the final stage of the restoration of the villa. I am currently in the process of making a book, which will take this project back to the format in which it initially appeared in 1929. The book will be published in stages, or chapters, as the project is developed, and is to be assembled in a final publication once the restoration is completed. The two first chapters were published in 2011 in conjunction with the exhibition After The Fair at Wiels Centre for Contemporary Art, Brussels.