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Zaha Hadid Retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, New York

"My ambition is always to realize theoretical projects that seem difficult at the time." – Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid at the opening of the anniversary exhibition "25"
at Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin, 2005

Tilted planes, protruding roofs, walls that meet in acute angles: Zaha Hadid’s designs and projects seem to deactivate the laws of statics and gravity. For over 20 years, her buildings have continually been influencing and revolutionizing the architecture world. She was the first and to date only woman to receive the renowned Pritzker Prize in 2004, which is regarded as the Nobel Prize of architecture. Recently, Zaha Hadid has also been active as an exhibition architect, designing "25", the anniversary exhibition of the Deutsche Bank Art Collection at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin on the occasion of its 25th birthday in 2005, and the exhibition "Tokyo Blossoms" for the Deutsche Bank Art Collection, shown this year at Tokyo’s Hara Museum. Now, with the support of Deutsche Bank, the Guggenheim Museum in New York is presenting a one-woman show from June 3 to October 25 2006 that illuminates the work of this exceptional architect from the beginning or her career to the present day.

Anniversary exhibition of Deutsche Bank Art "25"
at Deutsche Guggenheim 2005
Photo: Mathias Schormann

Skulptures for "Tokyo Blossoms" in the garden
of the Hara Museums in Tokyo.
Photo: Katrin Paul

The large-scale retrospective also pays tribute to Hadid’s interdisciplinary talent by focusing not only on her buildings, but also on the paintings, sketches, architectural drawings, city planning, models, reliefs, animation, furniture, and objects. The chronological order of the show documents the phases in the professional life of the Iraq-born architect, leading us back to Zaha Hadid the student, who was deeply inspired by the social utopia of the Russian Constructivists of the 1920s, and to her painting, in which she investigated the potentials of three-dimensionality. Finally, the exhibition traces her return to the architectural drawing, which she liberated from the restrictive traditions of the Cartesian system of coordinates.

The World (89 Degrees), 1983
Zaha Hadid Architects
©Zaha Hadid, Ltd., London

The system of coordinates consisting of the x and y axes was developed in the 17th century by the French philosopher René Descartes; it proved unsuitable for calculating Hadid’s architectural ideas and hindered her in her search for new possibilities to design public space. As a consequence, she developed the concepts of "fluidity" and "artificial landscape" to free herself from rationalist constraints. Beyond the x and y axes, it was possible to develop an architecture capable of penetrating into areas that had previously gone architectonically unexplored. Painting also helped Hadid in this important step, because it initially made it easier to defy gravity and the laws of perspective.

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