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Copy Culture

Copy Culture

On show at the Biennale in Venice until 25 November is an exhibition devoted to an iconic houses that never was...

House Josephine Baker, Paris (1928), Architect: Adolf Loos. A re-enactment by Ines Weizman and Andreas Thiele for Ordos 100, 2008

What does copying mean for architecture, in the context of the 20th-century house? Can a house that was never built be copied? How does copyright affect our relationship with buildings? These are some of the issues explored at the Venice Biennale, in Ines Weizman’s thought-provoking exhibition, Repeat Yourself: Loos and the Culture of the Copy.

The installation is based on a projected built version of Adolf Loos’ never-constructed house for Josephine Baker. In 2008, 75 years after Loos’ death, his work passed out of copyright and into the public domain. The same year a proposal was submitted for Ordos 100, the masterplan for a luxurious residential area in Inner Mongolia, China, that was developed and curated by Ai Wei Wei’ s FAKE studio in Beijing and the practice of Herzog & de Meuron in Basel. It was proposed to celebrate the freeing of Loos’ oeuvre from copyright by building a facsimile of House Baker, designed in 1928 for the legendary singer.

The Baker House is revived, or ‘re-enacted’ in the installation through photography, while filmed interviews with Loos experts, models, drawings and other materials further investigate the subject.

At the Venice Biennale until 25 November.


Model of House Baker, Adolf Loos (1928), street view, 2012 ©Armin Linke, 2012


Model of House Baker, Adolf Loos (1928), rear view, 2012 ©Armin Linke, 2012