Western Exhibitions is thrilled to present its third solo show with Marshall Brown, Je est un autre, in Galleries 1 and 2. Featuring two new projects, Brown uses the historically disruptive properties of collage and montage to create new spaces, forms, and narratives that embody new relationships between the one and the many. Je est un autre translates roughly to “I is another,” a phrase borrowed from French poet Arthur Rimbaud, and speaks to Brown’s rejection of purist or reductionist worldviews through his hybrid works. The exhibition opens on June 7th with a free and public reception from 5 to 8pm and runs through July 27th.
In Gallery 1, Brown expands upon his abstraction of architectural photography with a new series of collages that create even more dynamic perceptions of space, scale, and orientation than his Chimera collage series from 2014. In this new series Brown samples imagery from photographs taken during the golden age of post-war architectural photography. His curated fragments, culled from monographs on significant figures from the history of architectural photography, are hand-cut and fused together onto Arches hot press watercolour paper. Looming facades, stark shadows, and structural details seamlessly support one another to form unique architectural spaces and narratives — offering no site or function, Brown’s assemblages look toward new, boundless spaces. From Zach Mortice, Architect Magazine, in 2017: “Brown isn’t trying to make buildings more like collages. He’s trying to get us to acknowledge that buildings are collages, and that the future of ‘making new history’ comes from reassembling the pieces of the old.”
In Gallery 2, Brown presents a multimedia installation that details the future history of Daniel Freeman, an architect turned citizen-settler after a great flood destroys Chicago in 2033. Freeman’s story is anchored by a 4-minute digital video, “The New Country,” and augmented with architectural drawings on drafting vellum, sketches on tracing paper and wooden scale models. In Brown’s vision, ongoing shocks of climate mutation lead to an environmental apocalypse. Freeman pioneers a new way of living, eventually codified as “Smooth Growth,” in which a truly independent society is formed through collective stewardship and spatial solidarity. Brown uses this speculative architectural fiction to offer a progressive vision of a boundless and radically American civilization. Looking beyond our present moment of environmental crisis and social isolation, Brown proposes a future aimed at social ownership and collective independence.
Crossing disciplinary boundaries and extending from the intertwined histories of modern art and architecture, Marshall Brown is an architect, urbanist, and futurist whose work creates new connections, associations, and meanings among disconnected architectural and urban remnants. His work is in the collections of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Photography and the University Club, both in Chicago. Brown’s work has been exhibited at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, The Arts Club of Chicago, the Architecture and Design Museum Los Angeles, and recently in a 10-year survey, Recurrent Visions: The Architecture of Marshall Brown Projects, at the Princeton University School of Architecture. His projects and essays have appeared in several books and journals, including The New York Times Magazine, Metropolis, Crain’s, Architectural Record, Art Papers, The Believer, the Journal of Architectural Education and Log. Marshall Brown received his masters’ degrees at Harvard University. Brown is based in New Jersey and is an associate professor at Princeton University.