• Archetypes
    David K. Ross

David K. Ross, Art Gallery, Bushwick (SO-IL) II, 2017, New York, NY. Courtesy of the artist and Patrick Mikhail Gallery.

Archetypes is a photographic project that documents full-scale architectural mockups as they are found on construction sites and testing facilities around the globe. Built to a scale of 1:1 and assembled to assist with particularly difficult construction details, the mock-up aids in the overall understanding of how a building's components will appear or function. A form of proxy architecture, the mock-up is often comprised of disparate elements from a single building project. Windows, curtain wall systems, or material samples are temporarily coupled together in an assemblage that is designed to be demolished. Propositional but not speculative, the mock-up is a fragment made from components for a building that will exist in the future, albeit in another form. The mock-up's temporary status, combined with its lack of spatial articulation—they are usually built to test surfaces and materials, not spaces—puts it in league with another better known architectural typology: the film set. To this end, the Archetypes project utilizes direct, dramatic lighting to isolate the mock-ups from their often haphazard construction site settings, permitting a more focused reading of the structures—as if on a kind of stage—paradoxically rendering these para-architectural objects more ambiguously.

David K. Ross is a visual artist based in Montréal, Canada. With the exception of a three-year interlude during which he was teaching photography and filmmaking the School of Art Institute of Chicago, he has lived in Montréal since 2005. Currently, Ross occupies a visiting researcher position at Concordia University's Faculty of Fine Arts. He holds an MArch from the University of Toronto (2002). In the last dozen years, Ross's projects have been presented in numerous museums and film festivals, including Rencontres Internationale Paris / Berlin; the Rice Media Centre, Houston; CineMarfa, Texas; the Graham Foundation, Chicago; the Toronto International Film Festival; and the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal. His work can be found in the permanent collections of numerous institutions including the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, and the National Gallery of Canada.