Building Desire: On the Barcelona Pavilion by George Dodds

By George Dodds

In 1986 at the centenary of Mies van der Rohe's start, a brand new Barcelona Pavilion was built at the website of the unique 1929 German Pavilion. that very same decade marked the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of images. considering then, a lot has been published approximately van der Rohe, the Pavilion, and images, both jointly and singly. when the literature on Mies van der Rohe has greater than doubled long ago fifteen years, this can be the 1st critical research of the original phenomenon, and enduring fantasy of modernity, that was once, is and should stay the Barcelona Pavilion.

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The "re-building" of the pavilion, rather than clarifying things, has only confused an already murky issue. Despite all of the documentation, scholarship, and reconstruction efforts, there remains a remarkable lack of fixity in this work that is, at once, foundational and highly mutable. 114 Iconographers of the pavilion consistently conflate the implicit space of the photographs with an explicit space of a building. The Berliner Bild-Bericht prints are physically present; the architecture they represent remains a promise unfulfilled.

For Bonta, any image of the pavilion is tertiary While Tafuri, Quetglas, Evans, and numerous other authors set out to write an icongraphical interpretation of the pavilion, Bonta, quite the inverse, produced a semiological analysis of its publication vitae. That is, he is more interested in the manner in which the word spread and how different interpretations related to one another than he is in attempting to render a precise reading of what the pavilion may have meant at any given time. It is more the mechanics and mutability of its meaning over the course of decades of publication that interest Bonta, not a specific reading of the work.

Later, Johnson refers to Reich as Mies's "brilliant partner .. " 97 This is the limit of any mention of Reich in the body of the text. Johnson credits her "contribution" in the caption of the Silk Exhibit (cited by Nelson), "Exposition de la Mode," Berlin, 1927, and for the Barcelona Silk Exhibition. Yet, it seems far more likely that Reich executed most, if not all, of the exhibition work for Barcelona, and largely without Mies. 98 The Silk Exhibition was one of more than two dozen exhibits she designed for Barcelona, many of which appear in her professional portfolio.

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