Beauty and the Right to the Ugly was the title of an exhibition in 1981 by the Brazilian-Italian architect Lina Bo Bardi, which took a stand against bourgeois taste and values presented at her seminal building SESC Pompéia in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The exhibition was organized in collaboration with employees of a national organization for social work and medical assistance. “Beauty and the Right to the Ugly” became the title of a recent work by Wendelien van Oldenborgh in which she explores the life of an experimental multifunctional community center in the Netherlands from its opening in the 1970s to now, conceiving and implementing a filming methodology that translates architecture premises such as ‘open’, ‘user-led’ and ‘participative’ into cinematic devices. Taking her recent works “From Left to Night” (2015), “Beauty and the Right to the Ugly” (2014) and “Bete & Deise” (2012) as a lead, Van Oldenborgh will talk about filmmaking as a perfomative device and of her ongoing engagement in ideas on collectiveness, its intersection with the private and the role cultural production plays in this.
Wendelien van Oldenborgh develops works, whereby the cinematic format is used as a methodology for production and as the basic language for various forms of presentation. She often uses the format of a public film shoot, collaborating with participants in different scenarios, to co-produce a script and orientate the work towards its final outcome. With these works, which look at the structures that form and hinder us, she participated in various large biennials, and in smaller dedicated shows. Recent presentations include Form Left to Night (2015), solo at The Showroom London, Beauty and the Right to the Ugly (2014) in van Abbemuseum 2014; La Javanaise at the 12th Biennial of Cuenca (EC) (2014); Après la reprise, la prise in ‘Art Turning Left’, Tate Liverpool 2013. Van Oldenborgh has exhibited widely including in RAW Material Company Dakar (SN), Generali Foundation Vienna and Museum Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz (PL) as well as the 2nd Biennial of Kochi-Muziris 2014, 54rth Venice Biennial 2011, the 29e Bienal de Sao Paulo 2010 and at the 11th Istanbul Biennial 2009. In 2014 she was the recipient of the prestigious Heineken Prize for the Arts, presented by the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences.
Wendelien van Oldenborgh’s lecture will be moderated by graduate student, Suneil Sanzgiri (ACT) with response by Associate Professor of Writing and Digital Media, Vivek Bald (CMS) and Research Fellow Sandra Rodriguez (MIT Open Documentary Lab/CMS).