By Mark Wigley
*A very, really nice colour scan.*
From the preface...
To flip one’s gaze upon New Babylon this present day, on the shut of our century, is to come across one other international, the place shock and the excitement of the eyes mingle with innumerable questions, insights, and speculations. New Babylon was once the point of interest of continuous Nieuwenhuys’s task from 1956 to 1974. those very concrete dates surround the production of work, drawings, collages, lithographs, scale types, and texts, forming the corpus that we now rediscover at Witte de With, middle for modern paintings. This rediscovery is encouraged through a severe method of the current, looking to stay away from a simply ancient description of occasions from a previous which, even supposing fresh, is still charged with major paradoxes.
Constant is an artist who, with New Babylon, turns into one of many significant visionary architects of this century. either those domain names curiosity us this present day: the paintings and its intentions, the expression and its content material, the picture and what it conveys, the textual content and the pedagogical procedure during which it truly is inscribed. The problem is to give an artist whose complicated, hybrid paintings reveals no effortless category — in particular within the current time of ideological flux, which permits us to difficult new arguments and to shape judgments.
New Babylon constitutes the final accomplished formula of an concept of the recent guy, or greater, of a social house that permits for the emergence of an different guy, of a brand new lifestyle in neighborhood, in society. New Babylon is engaged with man’s event of the realm — and hence with the functionality of artwork — but additionally with politics, with the values and tools that we forge for our interplay with the realm. Deeply rooted within the avant-garde culture which, on the outset of this century, produced such a lot of proposals for the renewal of society, New Babylon bargains a pointy distinction with the shut of our century, while the skill to visualize the realm otherwise has considerably declined. the following, then, is a primary interesting query: what this present day continues to be of our means to reinvent the area?
With this exhibition and monograph we search to create a double impression. First, to supply the joy of considering an oeuvre of outstanding caliber which, in view that its final whole presentation within the Haags Gemeentemuseum in 1974, has merely reached the general public via fragmentary displays (at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, with the exhibition at the passage of a f ew humans via a slightly short second in time: the Situationist foreign, 1957-1972 in 1989; and on the Museu d’Art Contemporani in Barcelona, with the exhibition Situationists. paintings, Politics, Urbanism in 1997). moment, to get better and assessment the impression that New Babylon may have within the current, the place radicality, conviction, and audacity are infrequent.
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Additional resources for Constant's New Babylon: The Hyper-Architecture of Desire
116 Unsigned, ‘Renseignements situationnistes,’ Internationale Situationniste, no. 5 (Decem ber i960), p. 10. ’ Guy Debord, ‘ R eport to the 7th Conference o f the SI in Paris (excerpts) in The Veritable Split in the Internationale, 3rd rev. (London: Chronos Publications, 1990), p. 121. 119 One o f the professors o f architecture who suitable to the unlimited deployment o f new passions. But o f course this was not easy and so wefound attended the exhibition invited Constant to speak at his school in Aachen.
W ith Le Corbusier, die interplay and insight that we have a right to expect from truly impressive archi tecture —disorientation on a daily basis —have been sacrificed in favor o f the rubbish chute that w ill never be used to dispose o f the required Bible, already ubiquitous in American hotels. Only a fool would see this as modern architec ture. ’ Unsigned, ‘ Skyscrapers by the Roots,’ in Andreotti and Costa, Theory of the Dérive, p. 44. ‘ It is not worth it to continue to condemn the architecture o f Le Corbusier who intended to establish the definite har mony o f a style o f capitalist and Christian style o f life.
115 When later visiting Paris, he leaves a message that he is in town. ism was maintained, but redefined from the construction o f new forms to the active resis There is no response. An intense and productive collaboration had ended. 117 Internationale Situationniste maintained a strong discourse about architecture and tense. What is surprising is not the break, but the level o f agreement that lasted for three urbanism, much o f which remains perceptive and relevant. In 1972, the year o f the group’s and a half years.
Constant's New Babylon: The Hyper-Architecture of Desire by Mark Wigley