Making Memory, on view at the Design Museum through May 5, explores the role of monuments and memorials in the 21st century, through seven projects by celebrated British-Ghanaian architect, Sir David Adjaye OBE. The exhibition features projects such as the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C, the new National Cathedral of Ghana in Accra and the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in London.
Highlights include a full-scale section of the Sclera Pavilion for London Design Festival 2008, a replica library area from the Gwangju River Reading Room in South Korea, as well as inspiration materials including a sculpture by the early 20th-century Yoruba artist Olowe of Ise.
In this exhibition, celebrated architect Sir David Adjaye OBE will examine the idea of the monument and present his thinking on how architecture and form are used as storytelling devices. Monuments are a record of who we are and are deeply ingrained in our psyche as a way of memorialising ourtriumphs and failures. However, the form that monuments take, and the way they are experienced, is constantly changing.
This exhibition shows that contemporary monuments are no longer static objects in a field - plaques, statues or neo-classical sculptures - but are dynamic and complex spaces that serve a wider purpose.
"Making Memory is set up as a provocation or a question to the public," Adjaye stated. "I am not scared of a narrative that unfolds and splinters. I find that is much more representational of the collective consciousness that we all live in today. I really hope the exhibition is a vehicle for dialogue and discussion about what constitutes a monument and a memorial at the beginning of the 21st century.
"The monument is no longer a representation, it is an experience of time and place that is available to everyone. Whether it's for a nation, a race, a community, or a person, it is really used as a device to talk about the many things facing people across the planet. Democratisation does not mean that monuments cease to be relevant; it requires the monument to be transformed, so that it has an inbuilt openness and can be approached and understood from many points of view."
Image: Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Credit: Alan Karchmer