Known for her engagement with the history of architectural styles—especially the legacy of Modernism and 1950s–70s examples of concrete architecture—Isa Melsheimer’s works are expressions of her intense research as well as formal investigations. The artist acts as archeologist of often forgotten or neglected buildings, recreating their distinctive shapes both from her study and from her vivid re-imagining of the forms and the spirit of the structures. The shift of scale inherent in the artist’s allusion to architectural structures often lets the works, made from poured concrete, appear as benches, stool-like objects, tiered steps or hollow containers that sometimes double as sites of constructed exotic vegetation. A new body of work, her glazed ceramics find another kind of representation of architectural structures that depart in scale, material and colour from the sources. Although their scale recalls the miniaturised and schematic appearance of preliminary architectural models, the material and colours add a fantastic, playful aspect. All her objects take a certain amount of free license, sometimes containing elements of fantastic recreation, but are always infused with a deep understanding and sympathy for their architectural sources.
Text courtesy Esther Schipper.