A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

My Mondrian in Black & White
Monday, November 28, 2016





A topic that I keep repeating in these blogs is that I believe that what differentiates us from the other life beings of our planet is our human ability to associate.

Consider how the pictures here, taken some years ago (which I considered to be failures) in an Emily Carr College studio with my friends Juan Manuel Sánchez, Nora Patrich and our model Linda Lorenzo have made me associate them all with a white-haired architect via a BC Hydro electric substation on Burrard. And consider, too that in our task (Sánchez, Patrich, Lorenzo and I were all Argentines) we were projecting slides of scenes of the famous Buenos Aires cemetery La Recoleta.

Dal Grauer Substation

I photographed the architect Ned Pratt quite a long time ago. We became friends and I photographed him many times and the last time a couple of months before his death.

As a young partner of the Vancouver architectural firm Tompson, Berwick and Pratt he dispatched a young man to the Vancouver Public Library , then a modernist structure on the corner of Burrard and Robson. The boy was to look up Mondrian and to report back. 

Ned Pratt


That experiment in research became the Dal Grauer Substation (next to what was then called the BC Hydro Building and now is the Electra Building). Until the abandonment of its rich heritage value, the substation a living, three-dimensional Mondrian became what it is today, a forgotten structure that nobody seems to know exists. Perhaps the same could be said about Henry Moore’s Knife Edge sculpture at the top of Queen Elizabeth Park.

When I noticed these two negatives in my thick Linda Lorenzo file I thought immediately of a black and white Mondrian. And I know that my friend Pratt would have characteristically smiled with the intelligence, elegance and savvy that in this 21st century only architects might have. And of course thinking of Pratt takes me to associate him with Arthur Erickson, and then Ron Thom and from there Bing Thom and so on…

How images affected me 
Looking at the past to defy the present




     

Previous Posts
The Dagger - El Puñal

The Now of Then

Grace Kelly's Neck

Blanca Rosa de un Jardín Borrado

Sirius - that Dog Star Dog

A Pant Brush - William Blake

So That Our Hands Would Meet - Jorge Luís Borges

Not at an Arm's Length

Arrival - No Zap-Gun Science Fiction

Potato & Leek Soup - Not



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