A Reason for Celebration

Gauhar Zahid Malik, "Embassies of Switzerland and Germany present 'Gestalt': Theory and Design in the Age of New Objectivity, Fifteen Educational Lectures by Mariano Akerman, Architect and Art Historian," Pakistan Observer, Pakistan, 3 November 2011, Twin Cities, p. 9

Pakistan Observer, 3 November 2011, p. 9

ISLAMABAD - Embassies of Switzerland and Germany have jointly arranged fifteen educational lectures by Mariano Akerman, architect and art historian.
One lecture was held at the Swiss embassy while others in various educational institutions of the twin cities.
The Gestalt Program, topic of the lectures, has been conceived especially for Pakistani audiences. Focusing on the Swiss-German contribution to theory and design in the 1920s, the Program aims at sharing experience and reconsidering the interplay between tradition and modernization.
Over 2500 students have been invited to participate in the Gestalt Program.
Gestalt theory and Bauhaus design are two of the important themes to be explored in this cycle of fifteen lectures, training sessions, and workshops conceived by Mariano Akerman. Figure and ground, chance and intention, form and function, the rational and the irrational, repression and expression are discussed in the Program, which reconsiders the modern idea of form and function integrated in a single, effective whole.
Yet, significantly, close observation may reveal that modernity is not only based on functionality and common sense, as it may present surprises too. Besides, is ornament a crime? Tradition has often associated it with identity. Can abstraction and mass-produced fabrications provide it? And what is the common raison d'être supporting the work of German-Swiss creators so diverse as Walter Gropius, Arp, Alberto Giacometti, Le Corbusier, Meret Oppenheim, Mies van der Rohe, Johannes Itten, Paul Klee, and Max Ernst?
A possible answer could be experimentation. And during the 1920s those and other art researchers provided us with admirable, fully modern creations. Inspired by their experimental approach and including a full-of-prizes collage contest, the Gestalt Program aims to open a window towards the achievements of relatively distant cultures, stimulating local productivity and inventiveness, without rejecting identities or traditions.
"One of the good things about life in Islamabad these days is the sparkling presence of Mariano Akerman", one art lover said [...]. "Combining a formidable knowledge of the art canon with his exceptional skills as a teacher, the Argentinean painter and art historian Mariano Akerman has an unusual capacity to enthrall his audience. One of a rare breed, he is a scholar who delights as much as he informs. Presenting German art to a lay audience and holding them spellbound for two hours is one proof. Another is the enthusiastic response of Pakistani student audiences to the opportunity Mariano provides for them to probe their own artistic heritage and its relationship to the art of other civilizations. Building bridges between cultures — between east and west, between scholar and layman — he describes as his vocation.
Earlier this year in Islamabad, Mariano delivered a series of twenty-one lectures to a group of adult enthusiasts eager to deepen their understanding of the visual arts. Beginning at the beginning with how to appreciate a work of art, the series moved on to trace unexpected themes and linkages that brought the art canon to life in new ways. Here is the testimony of one participant to Mariano’s teaching style and breadth of perspective:
Some of the topics are quirky areas of art appreciation I had never considered, but all are stimulating. It is particularly interesting to be drawn into discussions during these lectures rather than simply taking part in a dry question and answer formula.
Communicating his ideas about art to those interested in learning is described by Mariano as fulfilling his need to balance the independent views of the scholar with the human impulse to share."

Mariano Akerman, Memory, collage, 2009
The composition has been reproduced by the Pakistan Observer today

Additional Resources
The Gestalt Program ; Programa Educativo Gestalt
Islamabad, German Embassy in Islamabad, Integrated Whole, Experimentation and Identity, Gestalt: Theory and Design in the New Objectivity Age, 25.10.2011
Bridging Cultures
Islamabad, Deutsche Auslandsvertretungen in Pakistan, Integriertes Ganzes, Experimentieren und Identität, Gestalt: Theorie und Gestaltung im Zeitalter der neuen Sachlichkeit, 28.10.2011
Sara Mahmood, Mariano Akerman: Bridging Cultures, 28.9.2011
Ishrat Hyatt, Gestalt Programme Launching Event, International The News, 22 October 2011, City News, p. 19 (S).
"The Ambassador of Switzerland ... held Reception Lecture of the Gestalt Educational Program held by Architect Mariano Akerman," Diplomatic Focus, Pakistan, Vol. II, Issue 8-9, October-November 2011, p. 70, photographs by Shabbir Hussain.
Almas Haider Naqvi, "Other is the Same Side of the Picture," Dataline Islamabad, 22 October 2011, p. 4
Maqbool Malik, "Tradition meets Modernisation," The Nation, Pakistan, 24 October 2011
SwissPak Association
Gauhar Zahid Malik, Theory and Design in the Age of New Objectivity, Pakistan Observer Online, 3 November 2011
Ilona Yusuf, Enhancing Perception: The Gestalt Lectures and Collage Competition, Blue Chip Magazine, Issue 87, Volume 8, Islamabad, January-February 2012, pp. 16-19, ill.
Sara Mahmood, Mariano Akerman: Bridging Cultures, Blue Chip Magazine, Issue 87, Volume 8, Islamabad, January-February 2012, pp. 20-24, ill.


Saira Iftikhar said...

Your lectures have made me to come to the conclusion that Gestalt really works in every field. Especially the Form and Function topic has real implications in our lives. Moreover, your lectures really urge one's mind to negotiate and discover something abstract from one's inner self. Thanks for all the new seeds you have cultivated in our minds. I am sure one day their fruit will enlighten the whole world with a name: Mariano Akerman.

Sabtain Kahn said...

A Fablous Achievement.

Sarah Ehrlich said...

Fantastic Mariano!

Libertad Vigo said...

Grande Mariano, me siento muy orgullosa de vos!
Besos mil,

Jacqueline Beaujean said...

Merci pour ce partage.

Lynley Ruth Butt said...

I like your impulse to share balanced against independent view of the scholar.

Griny en la Tierra said...

Mis aplausos.Tu labor es magnífica. Un beso, Griny

NCL said...

Me llenás de orgullo.