By Mark Wigley
*A very, really nice colour scan.*
From the preface...
To flip one’s gaze upon New Babylon this day, on the shut of our century, is to come across one other global, 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 continuing Nieuwenhuys’s job 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, heart for modern artwork. This rediscovery is prompted by means of a serious method of the current, trying to keep away from a in simple terms ancient description of occasions from a prior which, even if 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 day: the artwork and its intentions, the expression and its content material, the picture and what it conveys, the textual content and the pedagogical approach during which it's inscribed. The problem is to offer an artist whose advanced, hybrid paintings unearths no effortless category — specially within the current time of ideological flux, which permits us to tricky new arguments and to shape judgments.
New Babylon constitutes the final accomplished formula of an idea of the hot guy, or higher, of a social house that enables for the emergence of an different guy, of a brand new approach to life in neighborhood, in society. New Babylon is engaged with man’s adventure of the area — and hence with the functionality of paintings — but additionally with politics, with the values and tools that we forge for our interplay with the area. 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, whilst the capability to visualize the area another way has considerably declined. the following, then, is a primary interesting query: what this day is still of our skill to reinvent the area?
With this exhibition and monograph we search to create a double influence. First, to supply the joy of considering an oeuvre of outstanding caliber which, given that its final entire presentation within the Haags Gemeentemuseum in 1974, has in simple terms reached the general public via fragmentary shows (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. artwork, Politics, Urbanism in 1997). moment, to recuperate and assessment the influence that New Babylon may have within the current, the place radicality, conviction, and audacity are infrequent.
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Extra resources for Constant's New Babylon: The Hyper-Architecture of Desire
Debord ac Debord sent Constant a number o f postcards o f religious buildings or icons, some subtly cepted that Constant didn’t know about the inclusion o f the church design, but Constant retouched, with ironic comments on the back. Soon after seeing the Forum issue, he pub soon resigned. The break would be as complete as all the other ritualistic exclusions that lished an unsigned essay in the third issue o f Internationale Situationniste on ‘ L’urbanisme Debord presided over, creating the impression that architecture itself was excommunicat unitaire à la fin des années 50’ (Unitary Urbanism at the End o f the 1950s) that singles out ed.
Letter from Constant to Debord, dated 26 February 1959. 105 ‘ One could say that we are stuck within a small outmoded artistic world, artificially maintained by art merchants, directors o f literary reviews and mu seums and that we are forgetting the infinitely more important area o f archi tecture which is in great need o f inter vention. The urbanists are trying to find solutions which are not taking account o f a new vision on life. Their practical propositions (think o f problems o f circu architects were excluded and he offered his own resignation, he reminded Debord o f the lation) as well as their aesthetics, which they take from degenerated m odern art, are still insufficient and w ill be outdated quickly.
108 Letter from Debord to Constant, dated 26 November 1959. 109 ‘ In the same way, wouldn’t it be pos sible to print in your catalog my presen tation that did not serve in Holland? I doubt that Van de Loo would oppose this. ( .. ’ Letter from Debord to Constant, dated 25 November 1959. Debord had propo sed that changes would have to be made to the article for the collective publica tion: ‘ I would like my article on you to go to the publication on u u but it would undoubtedly need some modifications because the tone o f this article is the manifestation o f a preface to the work o f a single person (catalog o f photos or theoretical book doesn’t matter) and will not go well in the collective publication, I think.
Constant's New Babylon: The Hyper-Architecture of Desire by Mark Wigley