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Folio: Madelon Vriesendorp's all-seeing mannequin

From artists to architects and politicans to performers, a sea of talented women’s eyes – shaped in the female form – look back at the reader

005 ar 03 folio

005 ar 03 folio

More than a hundred eyes watch out from the mannequin on this month’s cover. The eyes belong to 55 women from history, carefully selected by its author Madelon Vriesendorp, including past winners of the Women in Architecture awards – Amanda Levete, Odile Decq, Grafton Architects, Eva Jiřičná and Rachel Whiteread – as well as others as wide-ranging as Frida Kahlo, Marie Curie and Beyoncé. The labelled diagram above was printed as this month’s Folio image and details the full list that made it into Vriesendorp’s selection. The artist’s own eye also makes an appearance.

Best known for her wonderful paintings, Vriesendorp co-founded the Office for Metropolitan Architecture with Rem Koolhaas, Elia and Zoe Zenghelis in 1975, before taking a step away from architecture and focusing instead on the design of costumes, objects, illustrations, exhibitions and short stories. She was awarded the Ada Louise Huxtable prize – which recognises individuals working in the wider architectural industry who have made a significant contribution to architecture and the built environment – at the Women in Architecture Awards in 2018.

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For web img 9584

The different phases of planning for the cover artwork

At the time she said; ‘What do they say? Behind every successful man is a surprised woman. Or now is it behind every successful woman is an angry man? … I felt I was being written out of the script more and more.’ Even the paintings she is most renowned for are often associated with Rem Koolhaas’s name as they illustrated Delirious New York. It’s not that they didn’t, but they existed in their own right prior to and outside of the book. Neither were they commissioned by OMA, or painted by other people, as recent books by current OMA partners have erroneously and unforgivably claimed. ‘OMA didn’t even exist then’, she says. ‘I feel here is the first (and maybe last) chance for me to rectify a few historical misprints.’

Click here to read more of Sam Jacob’s piece from last year. She returns to the pages of the Architectural Review in this year’s Sex + Women in Architecture issue as author of the cover artwork and also creator of four special trophies that were presented to prize winners at the Women In Architecture Awards luncheon.

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Img 9599

The finished cover

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3146209 46566060214 451d039c19 k

The trophies made by Vriesendorp for the Women In Architecture prize winners

This piece is featured in the AR March 2019 issue on Sex + Women in Architecture awards – click here to purchase your copy today