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Pablo Bronstein: Wall Pomp

[ Exhibition )

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A huge Greek urn printed on wallpaper hanging over a grand wooden staircase.

Pablo Bronstein: Wall Pomp, Photograph Mark Heathcote

An ambitious installation by Pablo Bronstein in the stairwell of our 18th century townhouse.

Reflecting his enduring fascination with architecture, Pablo Bronstein’s wallpapers featured monumental sculptures that disrupted the sense of history and space of the house, whilst providing a bold response to its past domesticity.

‘Wall Pomp’ reinvented the panoramic wallpapers used in 18th century interior decoration with a modern twist. They revealed Brostein’s deep appreciation of 18th century architecture and decorative arts.

His love for unashamedly ornamental designs is reflected in his designs of classical monuments. They also reference one of the key inspirations of 18th century design – the classical world of Greece and Rome.

While Pallant House was being constructed in the early 18th century, many young aristocratic men were embarking on ‘the Grand Tour’. This extended holiday saw swathes of British tourists travel across Europe, in particular France, Italy and Greece, in search of art and culture. There they encountered – and often fell in love with – the ruins of ancient empires. Soon, the grand houses of Britain were filled with antiquities.

The aspiring middle classes began to imitate this classical imagery in their own homes. If they were unable to afford the real thing, they were able to turn to commercially-produced wallpapers and pattern-books. Bronstein’s use of striking colour and over-sized objects recreate a sense of the impact these now familiar designs must have had on people at the time. It reflects the link between architecture and the people that live within it.

Like much of Bronstein’s work Wall Pomp juxtaposed the antique and the modern. At the gallery, he reinvented 18th century panoramic wallpapers with modern techniques.

Born in 1977 in Argentina, Bronstein grew up in Neasden, north west London. It was here that his self-confessed obsession with architecture originated. In a desire to break free from his childhood’s ‘dreary backdrop’, Bronstein constantly designed imaginary buildings in elaborate detail.

The staircase featured two monumental urns inspired designs from a late 18th-century plate book by the Bavarian Neo-classical architect François de Cuvilliés the Younger (1731 – 1777).

Each structure was designed as a fully-functioning prototype using 3D modelling technology. To Bronstein it is essential that each structure is believable from a spatial point of view. It is from these fully fleshed out models that Bronstein created the final wallpapers using digital print, using the walls of Pallant House as a giant canvas and working around the panelling which both complicates and fragments the design.

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