Nature & art

What best way to begin posting on nuirs than by noticing the close relationship that nature and art display in ruins?

Finale Emilia, Italy, 20 May 2012
AP Photo/Gianfilippo Oggioni, Lapresse

Some images covering the other day’s earthquake in Italy made me think in Matta-Clark and his projects of the 70s, like Splitting or Conical Intersect. As it is well-known, Matta-Clark chain-sawed buildings, documented the process of cutting walls and removing façades. In Conical Intersect, he carved a conical void volume in a building. His works have as much to do with natural decay as with human intervention (housing policies, urban planning). In line with Robert Smithson, entropy becomes a crucial idea in the study of architectural destruction.

Gordon Matta-clark, Splitting,1974

So, what happens with these half-destroyed buildings? Are they beautiful? Can we look at them, aesthetically? Well, first one should note, as Rosa Olivares put it, that “the aesthetic discourse begins after the cadavers have been removed”. Then (and I am consciously bypassing the ethical issue here, to be resumed some other day), the fact is that the apparent non-causality of this destructive results turn them unique, spontaneous, and natural.

Finale Emilia, 20 May 2012
Giorgio Benvenuti, Reuters

Perejaume, natural and artificial rocks

More than the relationship between nature and art (remainder: a post one day about Perejaume!), what comes to mind is the division I recently read about between “an artefact – a relic of human manipulation of the material world – or an ecofact – a relic of other-than-human engagements with matter, climate, weather, and biology.” Found this in a fascinating article by Caitlin DeSilvey, “Observed Decay: Telling Stories with Mutable Things”Journal of Material Culture Vol. 11(3): 318–338; for her part, DeSilvey forwards us to Jones, Martin (2005) ‘Environmental Archaeology’, in Colin Renfrew and Paul Bahn (eds) Archaeology: The Key Concepts, pp. 85–9. London: Routledge.

Sant’Agostino, 20 May, 2010
Giorgio Benvenuti, Reuters

Conical Intersect, 1975

Cathedral of Mirandola.
Roberto Serra/Iguana Press/Getty Images Europe

Video links

– Conical Intersect (ubuweb), and another work influenced by it.

– Splitting, Bingo/Ninths, Substrait (Underground Dailies) (1974-1976) (ubuweb)


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