Tobias Putrih & MOS: Without Out

Gallery filled with Styrofoam™ block and wood sculptures on wooden pedestals

Installation view, Tobias Putrih & MOS: Without Out, MIT List Visual Arts Center, 2009. Photo: Tim Lloyd. 

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Tobias Putrih
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Artist Tobias Putrih uses everyday materials such as cardboard, Styrofoam™, and plywood to produce fragile structures that span from small modular objects to larger installation environments.

Recent work has featured Putrih’s collaboration with MOS, a collective of designers and architects that creates software and uses customized tools of parametric design to produce simple but highly complex structures and buildings. The two principals, Michael Meredith and Hilary Sample, teach at Harvard University and Yale University while maintaining the practice. In a recent installation Overhang, shown at the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art, (England) Putrih and MOS created a Styrofoam™ brick structure in a constant verge of collapse. The project was based on a mathematical problem that determines the maximum overhang of a brick stack—the software developed by MOS generates brick stacks in minimal structural equilibrium. Intervention #10, created for the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, (the Netherlands) continued to examine aesthetic values of original parametric design through the creation of a primitive arch.

Putrih’s exhibition at the List Visual Arts Center features a newly commissioned work, Erosion, a large scale sculptural installation of eroded Styrofoam™ blocks that the viewer can enter to experience the structure’s inner space. As Putrih and MOS have decided to present the project in a “fixed” state, the blocks are glued together and the structure is presented here as the pure possibility of generated form. In addition, working models, and other support materials further illuminate the collaboration between Putrih and MOS.

About the Artists:

Born in 1972 in Kraj, Slovenia, Tobias Putrih graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia in 1997. From 1997-98 Putrih studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany. He currently lives and works in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and New York, New York.

Putrih represented Slovenia in the 52nd Venice Biennale, Slovenian Pavilion, Venice, Italy, (2007). His solo exhibitions include those at the BALTIC Center for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, United Kingdom (with MOS Architects) (2009); Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (with MOS Architects) (2009); Kunsthaus, Zurich, Switzerland (with Runa Islam) (2008); Galleria Civica, Modena, Italy (with Runa Islam) (2008); Galerija Gregor Podnar, Berlin, Germany, White Cube, London, United Kingdom (with Runa Islam)(2008); Max Protetch Gallery, New York, New York (2007 and 2005); Pinksummer Contemporary Art, Genoa, Italy (2007); Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York (2007); Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis, Missouri (2006); Galerija Gregor Podnar—Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia (2006); Grazer Kunstverein, Graz, Austria (with Toby Paterson) (2005); Galerie Almine Rech, Paris, France (2004); Mala galerija, (Moderna galerija), Ljubljana, Slovenia, Max Protetch Gallery, New York, New York (2003); Bežigrajska Galerija, Ljubljana, Slovenia (2002); Galerija Škuc, Ljubljana, Slovenia, (with Žiga Kariž) (2001); and Galerija Kapelica, Ljubljana, Slovenia (1999).

Selected group exhibitions include those at Project Space 176, London, United Kingdom, (2008); Former State Mint, Berlin, Germany, (2008); Museion, Bolzano, Italy, (2008); The Hayward Museum, London, United Kingdom, (2008); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, (2007); Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (2007); Mudam, (Musée d’art moderne Grand-Duc Jean), Luxembourg, Luxembourg (2006); Thomas Dane Gallery, London, United Kingdom (2005); New Langton Arts, San Francisco, California (2005); Greater New York, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, New York (2005); CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, California (2005); Mestna galerija Ljubljana (City Art Museum Ljubljana), Ljubljana, Slovenia (2005); Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland (2004); The Hague, The Netherlands (2004); MACRO (Museum of Contemporary Art Rome), Rome, Italy (2004); Moderna galerija/Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, Slovenia (2004); Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany (2003); and Manifesta 4, Frankfurt, Germany (2002).

Michael Meredith and Hilary Sample, the principals of MOS, live and work in New Haven and Cambridge. MOS has been based in New Haven since 2007. Projects designed in the MOS office have been showcased Architectural Record, Architect, A+U, Wallpaper, Surface, Space Korea, Mark, AV Proyectos, The New York Times, and many others, and they have been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, SMOCA, MoMA, and the Arts Institute in Chicago. They have received numerous awards, most recently a Design Award from Progressive Architecture, and New York City Architectural League Emerging Voices. Current work includes a Villa in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, and the public art installation Afterparty P.S.1/MoMA in Long Island City.

Michael Meredith received Bachelor of Architecture from Syracuse University, and a Master of Architecture from Harvard University with distinction from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he was also awarded the Frederick Sheldon Traveling Fellowship. Michael previously taught architecture at the University of Michigan, where he was awarded the Muschenheim Fellowship, and the University of Toronto, where he was the co-recipient of a Canadian Foundation for Innovation grant. In Fall 2006, Meredith coordinated and was the curator for the Harvard GSD exhibition, Beyond the Harvard Box: The early works of Barnes, Franzen, Johansen, Lundy, Pei, Rudolph. In 2003, he was a resident at the Atlantic Center for the Arts with Dave Hickey, and in 2000, he completed a residency at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. His writings have been published in Praxis, Perspecta, Art Forum, Harvard Design Magazine, McSweeney’s, and A+U.

Hilary Sample received a Bachelor of Architecture from Syracuse University, and a Master of Architecture from Princeton University and received the Kolarik Underwood Thesis Prize. After working as a project architect in the offices of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill in New York, and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam, she founded MOS in 2003. Sample is an Assistant Professor at Yale University School of Architecture. Prior teaching at Yale, Sample taught at the University of Toronto, Northeastern University, and SUNY Buffalo, where she was awarded a Reyner Banham Teaching Fellowship. She was a visiting scholar at the CCA in Montreal, and an artist in resident at the MacDowell Colony. Her research has been published in Praxis: Journal of Writing Building306090Building Materials, and Verb. Sample is currently completing the book Sick City: A Global Investigation into Urbanism, Infrastructure, and Disease.


Support for Tobias Putrih & MOS: Without Out has been provided by the Council for the Arts at MIT, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Ministry of Culture of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia. Media sponsor: Phoenix Media/Communications Group.