2 Girls Building by KUD and Samantha Everton

A collaborative project between an architectural firm and a photographer attempts to realise a photograph as a building.

MELBOURNE – Some poor 3D printer in Melbourne is having an identity crisis, or so the latest real estate suggests. A collaborative effort between architectural firm Kavellaris Urban Design (KUD) and photographer Samantha Everton, ‘2 Girls Building’ is a mixed-use piece that meshes the creators’ disparate media, indecisively pictorial and material.

The project more or less attempts to realise a photograph from Everton’s 2009 Vintage Dolls exhibition as a building. The glazed front, tinted with Everton’s image, is partially swallowed on either side by a concrete envelope. As if defying the jaws of the shell, the photograph protrudes through in a full-length relief – which depicts every corresponding detail down to a tear in the wallpaper – and disrupts its rectilinear outline in a few places with the contours of its subjects. A lamp from the right of the photograph has actually materialised on the façade and goes so far as to take on the object’s function by being illuminated at night. The texture of the lampshade, however, has been extended across the wall of an attic volume at the same height, embodying a kind of raised curtain not present in the original image.

The clash of craft runs beneath the surface, as well. Immediately within the façade, the interior has employed the damask print of the photograph’s backdrop on its walls. Rather ironically, the artwork itself hangs in this room. The common circulation space dividing the building’s residential, office and warehouse functions doubles as an art gallery, displaying both the work of Everton and others, and even assuming a white-cube decor.

According to Everton, the photographs from the Vintage Dolls exhibition had sought to capture the blissfully naive lack of preconceptions with which children can enact adult behaviour – featuring as a common subject young girls playing dress-up in faux-Victorian domestic interiors. The artist reveals this aspect of childhood to be theatrical, and the same can be said about the spectacle comprising the ‘2 Girls Building’. Architecture and photography seem to interact completely ingenuously, yet the consciously-campy result perhaps expresses the more savage and mischievous aspect of child’s play otherwise absent in the elaborately-staged scenes of Vintage Dolls.

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