Constant's New Babylon: The Hyper-Architecture of Desire

By Mark Wigley

*A very, really nice colour scan.*

From the preface...

To flip one’s gaze upon New Babylon at the present time, 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 used to be the focal point of continuous Nieuwenhuys’s task from 1956 to 1974. those very concrete dates surround the construction 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 influenced through a severe method of the current, trying to keep away from a basically ancient description of occasions from a earlier which, even though 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 approach during which it truly is inscribed. The problem is to offer an artist whose complicated, hybrid paintings reveals no effortless type — in particular within the current time of ideological flux, which permits us to complicated new arguments and to shape judgments.

New Babylon constitutes the final complete 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 lifestyle in neighborhood, in society. New Babylon is engaged with man’s event of the area — and therefore 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 ability to visualize the area otherwise has considerably declined. the following, then, is a primary exciting query: what this day is still of our ability 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 remarkable caliber which, considering its final whole presentation within the Haags Gemeentemuseum in 1974, has simply 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. artwork, Politics, Urbanism in 1997). moment, to get well and evaluation the effect that New Babylon could have within the current, the place radicality, conviction, and audacity are infrequent.

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