Centre for Architecture Theory Criticism History
School of Architecture

Inside | Outside: Trading between Art and Architecture

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

A team of UQ researchers have just returned from the international conference, Inside | Outside: Trading Between Art and Architecture, in Ghent, Belgium. The researchers all hail from the “Is Architecture Art” (IsAA) research group within the Centre for Architecture, Theory, History and Criticism (ATCH). From the 4th to the 6th of May, inside a repurposed anatomy theatre in Ghent’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK), speakers presented case studies that addressed the reciprocal trade between art and architecture for dissection and examination by academics from United States, Europe and Australia. The conference was headlined by two keynotes, artists Sarah Oppenheimer and architect John Körmeling, who both discussed the nature and impact of their work to this community of academic researchers, and interested students from KASK.

The conference was an exciting moment for the IsAA team. It marked the first formal event of the IsAA project and was organised in partnership with the Department of Architecture & Urban Planning, Ghent University. It also challenged speakers to present new research that engaged with the conference’s interdisciplinary themes—specifically the “two-way directions of transaction" between art and architecture, where categories shift and boundaries blur. As the conference website states:

Inside | Outside wants to investigate the potential openings and possible deadlocks of such exchanges, both in terms of the means and strategies they displace and the context in which they happen—that is, inside or outside institutional spaces and venues. In this sense, the interest lies less in how means and strategies mobilize disciplines than the other way around.

The IsAA team presented a diverse range of work. Professor John Macarthur discussed the work of Jorge Pardo, and issues of aesthetics and functionality raised by his bathroom installations in art galleries. Dr Ashley Paine presented the artwork of Spencer Finch to address questions of authenticity and reproduction in period rooms. Dr Susan Holden introduced Assemble, a young collective of British architects, and the controversial implications of their recent win of the Turner Art Prize. PhD Candidate, Annalise Varghese, discussed the Osaka Follies from Expo ’90, and how their oscillation between built form and paper representations. Rosemary Willink also presented her doctoral research which examines the Met Breuer, and the curatorial and exhibition strategies that treat this architectural work, as an object of art, within The Met’s collection.

The event is to be followed by conference organised by IsAA team in Brisbane in 2018, which will build on the themes raised at Inside | Outside deepen the discussion on the question of “Is Architecture Art?”

Annalise Varghese


“Is Architecture Art?” is funded by a Discovery Grant of the Australian Research Council: a research project of the Centre for Architecture, Theory, History and Criticism (ATCH), at the School of Architecture, University of Queensland in partnership with Ghent University.

For more on Inside | Outside, the IsAA Project, and our Instagram:



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