I have been invited by the non-profit GlobalArtAffairs Foundation to exhibit work from my series “Asylums” in their “Time, Space, Existence” exhibition at the European Cultural Centre as part of this year’s official Venice Architecture Biennale.
Your support would help pay for the required contribution towards the costs of the space, at either the Palazzo Mora or Palazzo Bembo both in the heart of Venice, and contribute towards production and transport costs, and make the project possible.
“Asylums” uses the techniques of architectural modelling and visualisation to create 3D computer models of key 19th century asylum designs based on the original floor plans and available aerial photographs. The images are then rendered with the interior colours of the institutions they represent, to explore this intended relationship between design and treatment.
Up until the 19th century provision for the care of mentally ill or disabled members of society was left to family, friends or ‘Poor Law Workhouses’. Concerns over treatment led to a move to reform this care and in 1808 the County Asylum Act was passed and patients were moved to purpose built institutions that each UK county was obliged to provide.
These institutions were largely self-contained and were built as a tranquil retreat for those unable to afford care for themselves. By the end of the 19th century there were 120 Asylums in the UK housing 110,000 patients; the largest, Whittingham, had a population of almost 3000.
The 1990 Care in the Community Act heralded a complete change in Government policy and almost all of the institutions have now been closed and lie derelict.
The asylum buildings, their surroundings and interior decoration, with a combination of ‘warm’ and ‘cool’ colours, were designed to be part of the holistic treatment process. They were situated away from areas of urban development and patients were able to benefit from fresh circulating air and natural light.
This exhibition will help raise awareness of mental health care by helping to situate the discourse in a wider cultural and geographical context, and potentially represents a huge step forward both for my own practice and for the profile of fine art CGI imagery in a commercial architectural environment. The show will feature selected work from several photographers and many leading architectural practices from around the world.
I am an artist and lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, and have previously taught at the Slade School of Fine Art and the University of the Arts London, as well as having run workshops on Computer Generated Imagery and given talks at the Photographer’s Gallery London. My practice is concerned with photography’s ‘expanded field’ and in particular an exploration of how CGI can help us navigate the physical and virtual space.
Thank you for taking the time to read my project and you can view more of my work, and exhibition profile at www.richardkolker.com . I would greatly appreciate it if you could back my project, donations of all sizes are welcome, please look at my reward list.