The Surrealist artistic movement and the Postmodernist cultural movement both ensured that individual thought would become the object of both art and architecture. The bond between these similar ideologies provoked a truly unique opportunity to develop an irrationally artistic architectural expression.
No collective effort has managed to create a world of dreams as pure and disturbing as these Art Nouveau buildings, which by themselves constitute, on the very fringe of architecture, true realizations of solidified desires, in which the most violent and cruel automatism painfully betrays a hatred of reality and a need for refuge in an ideal world similar to those in a childhood neurosis.
The Art Nouveau architectural style was notable for rich sculptural decoration and a synthesis of the arts, which were certainly not welcomed in Modernist architecture. However, such features were again revived in the s and s Postmodern architecture.
Such an artistic synthesis of architecture and sculpture or highly decorated architecture has many analogues in contemporary architecture to this day. However, the two most influential creations, the Merzbau artist Kurt Schwitters, — and the Endless House artist Frederick John Kiesler, , were displayed, not as objects of architecture, but as a sculpture 5 and assemblage 6 , despite the fact that they embodied the Surrealist understanding of a living space.
Both these sculptures blurred the lines between distinct borders of space or separate surfaces — they introduced ideas of indeterminacy, continuity, fluid movement and also the spontaneous creation of unfinished, ever-changing and unplanned formalistic architectural expression. Fluid movement and distinctively vague, indistinct interior spaces are the trademark of such well-known architects as Zaha Hadid — , Kendrick Bangs Kellogg b.
Notoriously sculptural exterior expression is also the trademark of Frank Gehry b. Both of these qualities are common to Japanese architect Arata Isozaki b. However, contemporary architectural trends such as Deconstructivism or Blobism are often treated as an extension of Postmodernism, which, in its turn, was heavily affected by the irrational Surrealist artistic ideas and concepts.
In the mid-twentieth century, such irrational ideas could only be realized as conceptual designs; however, similar ideas are now a fundamental part of 21st-century architecture. This article will make the argument-based statement that those Surrealist concepts were a potent catalyst for the emergence of some of the architectural trends from the second half of 20th century right up to our present age.
In naturalistic form, in naturalistic colour, and in naturalistic line, plastic relationships are veiled. To be expressed plastically in a determinate way, relationships must be represented only through colour and line. In his own terms, the Russian painter Kazimir Malevich — published the Suprematist Manifesto Unovis , which claimed that:.
The art of the present, and in particular painting, has been victorious on the whole front. Consciousness has overcome the flat surface and advanced to the art of creation in space.
Henceforth the painting of pictures will be left to those who have been unable, despite tireless labour, to free their consciousness from the flat surface, those whose consciousness has remained flat because it could not overcome the flat surface. Through spatial consciousness painting has developed into the constructive creation of form. The Gestalt psychology tried to explain that basic geometry is not derived from the natural environment, but is rather a product of the human mind.
According to this theory, all individuals have a common understanding of space, order, colour and — subsequently — art. For example, when people see a group of similar random elements, mentally they are able to understand it as a structure or a composition.
Universal principles were advocated by the leading global architects. The regulating line, according to him, was a guarantee against wilfulness. However, their experience of architecture is based upon special schemata within which they are looking for the forms they are used to seeing. He was recorded saying that he was a follower of Gestalttheorie.
At the time, Global cosmopolitanism was still regarded positively, as was the so-called International Style in architecture. Many abstract artists in one way or another participated in architectural designs.
To give a few examples, the Russian Suprematist artist El Lissitzky — was also an architect and worked with the Bauhaus art, design and architectural school — in Weimar, Germany.
In this process lies a remarkable analogy to human dreaming: it is widely known, that images we see when dreaming consist of persons or objects we have seen at least once in reality.
Dreams and visions are essentially eclectic and the images springing up in them have no underlying logic. In other words, the persons and objects that are revived in the dreams, are also seen in a somewhat distorted manner. This dream-like state of mind is exactly what attracted Surrealist artists. Both sculptures, based on the same famous classical statue of Venus, blur the distinction between masterpiece, cheap replica, mass production furniture and a simply erotic naked female body.
It is interesting that these statues are based on a dehumanized utensil-like human figure — which is a common leitmotif in Surrealist art. The blurred distinction between elite art and cheap replica was later explored by the Postmodernist sculptor Michelangelo Pistoletto b. His sculpture Venus of the Rags of again embodies the cheap replica of a nude classical statue against a background of everyday objects and brings "together the beauty of the past and the disaster of the present".
The German philosopher Wolfgang Welsch b. This was a replica of the famous Hellenistic Nike of Samothrace. The artistic idea behind this was to herald the revival of classical arts in contemporary culture. Despite this postmodern notion, the aesthetics of the Nike Linz are purely Surrealistic. The original Greek sculpture had an exact artistic purpose — to depict a winged woman the goddess of victory in an expressive and naturalistic manner. The contemporary designers, in contrast, chose to replicate an already broken and mutilated statue as a finite art object.
Of course, such an appearance only strengthens the metaphor of how classical art emerges victorious against time. However, ancient society would have never approved of such a battered depiction.
Also, the Nike Linz was installed in a somewhat unusual position, high above the roof, almost as a cardboard cut-out, and her 'flight' is even more highlighted by the modern mounting — the unmistakably evident metal truss. A modern observer is, however, fine with such a distorted representation and can better understand the meaning behind its mutilated form. In a truly Postmodern manner, this sculptural feature is oriented to both educated society and common folk.
To the latter, the twelve figures evidently represent the twelfth district and the slave subject clearly depicts imprisonment. On the other hand, educated people would know that Michelangelo — originally sculpted his slave figure for the tomb of Pope Julius II to represent not physical, but moral, emotional and spiritual captivity.
The way these replicas are represented in the police station is no doubt Surrealist: a weak and relaxed pose and classical nudity serve as a homoerotic motif; the fragmentation and mutilation of the human body the slaves are pierced , and a mechanically precise, almost industrial repetition of the single figure echo the subjects of anxiety and dehumanisation.
The architecture of the Postmodern police station bears a strong resemblance to Art Nouveau styles, justifying its Surrealist-like sculptural aesthetic. As mentioned before, some Surrealist artists were greatly inspired by the Art Nouveau architectural style, and this is probably the reason why the police station of the 12th arrondissement expresses both Surrealist and Art Nouveau features.
This sculptural element is also set to be appealing to both intellectuals and the common public. This somehow represented the artistic rivalry between France and Italy. Viewers ignorant of the historical or artistic background can simply associate Venus with everything stereotypical of the resort — bathing, beauty and eroticism. This kind of synthesis of the arts was taken to extremes in the Library of Nice architects Francis Chapus and Yves Bayard, However, when applied to the library building, this form illustrates the phrase "to think outside the box", and expresses that human thought is individual, but basic knowledge is objective and abstract, like regular geometry.
It also provides a metacommentary on how the typical architectural geometry "Gestalt" can preferably be replaced by more peculiar sculptural forms. One pavilion of this shopping centre is shaped as a male head, sliced between two rectangular blocks. The first project was based on the shape of two prisms connected by the torso of the Venus de Milo. Sacha Sosno provoked the tension between the acknowledged artwork and mass produced objects.
He reproduced his own sculptural ideas numerous times, using different materials, or turned them into objects of a different art form, that is in architecture or print. This concept — to turn sculptural artworks into architecture that appeals to both the general public and intellectuals — is itself postmodern. Every architectural piece of Sosno expressed Surrealist art themes — eroticism, dehumanisation through multiplication and mutilation of the human body as a symbol of angst, and the dream-like usage of historical art references.
Every single architectural concept is an example of individual creativity, fine Surrealist art and brave and unique embodiments of Postmodernist ideas in contemporary architecture. Botta made a scale wooden replica of the church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane in Rome; however, the architect omitted its exterior completely Fig. The pavilion instead was a literal cross section of the church, wherein the interior was used as some sort of mould form or even an imprint, and displayed exteriorly.
Botta is not a Surrealist artist; however, this pavilion represented a typical Surrealist expression — it was a paraphrase of a historical artwork, which was depicted in a mutilated sliced into half fashion and realized in an unusual that is in a landscaped, rather than an urban context.
It also blurred the borders between architecture and sculpture. This pavilion, located at the shore of Lake Lugano until , had no other practical purpose, but to serve as a monument to Francesco Borromini. This meter-tall building is decorated with a relief portrait of the spokesman for Aboriginal social justice William Barak —; Fig. In addition, the building is decorated with circular portholes, some of which are filled with aluminium discs that form a pattern spelling out "Wurundjeri I am who I am" the famous quotation of William Barak 49 in braille.
This can only be interpreted as a sculptural effort to immortalize the memory of W. Barak through the use of a visual code. Though contemporary architecture is nowadays dominated by other artistic trends, these scarce examples of a Postmodern synthesis of architecture and sculpture show that this artistic method will still be valid in the future. He followed the succession of styles from Impressionism — to Expressionism , Abstraction — 51 , and Constructivism , and eventually associated himself with Dada In he commenced his most known artwork, the Merzbau, a structure which was installed in his studio and which was one of the very first artistic assemblages.
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