Esem Projects created a series of installations at MLC Centre celebrating the legacy of architect Harry Seidler.
The Modern Love Project built on our previous installation Last Drinks (2012), which explored the social and cultural history of this iconic Sydney precinct, once home to Sydney's aspirational Hotel Australia (1892-1972). This time we worked with the site owners (GPT/QIC) to cover the site's more recent history, exploring documentary and archival sources including the collections of the Seidler Foundation and the Max Dupain archive.
Dr. Sarah Barns: Research and Curation Michael Killalea: Design Anna Fraser: Motion Graphics Leif Wilson: Installation
We approached the site of the MLC Centre as one that has historically nurtured Sydney's aspirations to be modern — a city of international standing. Before the MLC Centre, the Australia Hotel was constructed on the site in 1891 as Sydney’s first skyscraper, at seven stories in height, while the tiny Rowe Street running between Castlereagh and Pitt Streets became a haven for Sydney’s modernist arts & culture scene — lovers of modernism, modernists in love.
When Seidler's MLC Centre was completed in 1978 it was, at 67 stories, the tallest reinforced concrete building in the world, and remained Australia's tallest office building until 1992. We explored Seidler's vision for the building through his original drawings and plans, and his collaborations with Italian engineer Pier Luigi Nervi, Josef Albers, and Australian photographer Max Dupain. Harry Seidler was a former student of Josef Albers and had maintained a strong connection with him throughout his career. The artwork commissioned for the MLC Centre, titled 'Wrestling', was Albers' final before his death in 1976. Along with his creative collaborations, the project also situated MLC Centre into its pedestrian context; a way to acknowledge Seidler's commitment to providing spaces of repose and walkability within the City Centre.
The Project includes 3 x video projections and a series of large-scale prints in Lees Ct. Projections featured through September & October 2014.