Homes for the Soul: Micro-architecture in medieval and contemporary art

17 January – 18 March 2001

Exhibition in Gallery 4

Bringing together a selection of small-scale representations of architectural forms from the Middle Ages and the past twenty years.

For most of the late 20th century, art historians have used the term 'micro-architecture' to refer to small-scale architectural imagery in medieval art. This exhibition is the first occasion where 'micro-architecture' is applied to suggest a link between contemporary and medieval works.

The term has now been applied to wide-ranging forms of contemporary art and architecture, including small shelters, street furniture, and inhabitable sculpture. In all contexts, the 'micro' component of micro-architecture refers neither to microscopic qualities, nor solely to miniaturization, but rather to architecture that is merely reduced in scale. At the same time, an increasing number of contemporary artists are using the architectural model and other forms of smaller-scale architectural imagery in work that might also be described as ‘micro-architectural’.

In this exhibition, both the medieval and contemporary works express ideas about ideal and real space, relationships between body and soul, and associations between domestic and ecclesiastical architecture. The medieval objects can be understood in light of medieval conceptions of the body as an enclosure for the soul; likewise, one might read the contemporary works in relation to contemporary preoccupations with the quest for a safe home in the precarious housing market.

Homes for the Soul presents medieval objects from the British Museum and the John Rylands Library, along with works by Alex Hartley, Mike Kelley, John Miller, Renato Niemis, Manfred Pernice, Donald Rodney, Emma Rushton, and Thomas Schütte. It is the first in a series of collaborations with the British Museum.

Venue details

Venue address

Henry Moore Institute
The Headrow
United Kingdom
T: 0113 246 7467

Opening times

Galleries: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am - 5pm

Research Library: Monday to Friday, 10am - 5pm
Archive of Sculptors' Papers: Tuesday to Friday, by prior appointment

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