Book of Architecture V

Elizabeth Barnett 

This mixed media work by Elizabeth Barnett is one of three from Council’s collection and part of the artist’s Book of Architecture series.

Buildings rise from architectural and botanical tomes, animating an otherwise static text.

Across the six works which form the full Book of Architecture series, the narrative develops from the city’s conception, through the city’s height of architectural excellence, subsequently overtaken by nature, infiltrated by water and then demolished, replaced by a modern, inaccessible monolith. 

In Book of Architecture V, the buildings are being torn down. This image directly responds to the artist’s experience at the former Schoolhouse Studios in Abbotsford, where the threat of demolition was always imminent.

The knowledge that the historical buildings also used to house a Steiner school and technical college, before the artists’ temporary occupation of the site, also influenced the naive treatment of the tumbling forms, akin to children’s colourful building blocks.