An exhibition of artworks and installations specially commissioned by the Royal Academy.
Origins takes the mythical origins of architecture as a starting-point for a series of five interventions around the RA’s home, Burlington House, each dealing with a fundamental component of architecture: construction, space, shelter, decoration and precedent.
The history of architecture is full of ‘origin myths’: stories of how and where architecture began. They range from the 18th-century notion of the “primitive hut” and 19th-century interests in animal skins and fabrics, to modernist conceptions of space. What makes these myths important is the way they describe the point at which building becomes culture, when the act of construction is imbued with meaning that can be read and interpreted.
Guiding the creative process is a belief that the veracity of origin myths is less important than their use as a source of inspiration for new narratives. Rather than seeking simply to recount these myths in a literal way, Origins embraces erroneous theories, misunderstood histories, personal mythologies and speculative wild-goose chases. At times playful, witty and provocative, Origins asks us to look again at the myths, conventions and histories that guide how architecture is created and experienced.
The installations are site specific and sensitively occupy prominent locations within this grade II* listed building that are currently empty or in transition due to refurbishment. Origins invites visitors to engage with the historical context of the building whilst offering an intriguing contemporary counterpoint to the history of art and architecture.