The Cosmic House is an extraordinary building designed as a family home by the architectural critic and designer Charles Jencks (1939-2019) together with his wife, writer and designer Maggie Keswick Jencks (1941-1995). Marked by a collaborative process involving architects, artists and craftsmen since its completion in 1983, the house has served as an artistic and intellectual hub of post-modernism.
Earlier this year has seen the launch of the Jencks Foundation while the house with its collection of artefacts, library and archive, now open to the public, invites questions foregrounding the conditions of how a private passion contributes to building a new public institution. Through a close engagement with the archive, there lies an opportunity of activating the cultural legacies that originate in scholarship, professional friendships and affect, which exceed an individual vision by pointing towards contingency, mutuality and a set of social interdependencies.
Each of the participants in this Curatorial Conversation occupies a distinct position in relation to the project - Dr Eszter Steierhoffer as Artistic Director of the Jencks Foundation, Eddie Heathcote as the Keeper of Meaning and Chair of the Steering Group of The Cosmic House, and Marysia Lewandowska as the inaugural Artist-in-Residence.
Curatorial Conversations bring to the Warburg curators of world-leading museums and galleries to discuss their work. The conversations, led by academics at the Warburg Institute, discuss the issues of setting the curatorial agenda and staging meaningful encounters with objects. The series is designed to draw out discussion of the discoveries made, challenges tackled and the lessons learned in installing objects in the permanent collection and putting together internationally renowned exhibitions.