Wednesday 27 April 2011

Robert Smithson


Robert Smithson developed the concept of de-architecturization, which views architecture from the perspective of an unavoidable entropic development. The concept of entropy, which he borrows from the natural sciences, identifies the irreversible process of homogenization, which ultimately flows into an undifferentiated chaos of disordered matter and heat death.
When architecture is subjected to time, not only the building process, but also the process of decay comes into view.
Work example: Partially Buried Woodshed
The architecture literally becomes a site of transition. Smithson developed the idea of an architecture of impermanence, one which focused on its own disappearance as its subject, depicted time in the site, and made itself the event.
“One´s mind and the earth are in a constant state of erosion, mental rivers wear away abstract banks, brain waves undermine cliffs of thought, ideas decompose into stones of unknowing, and conceptual crystallizations break apart into deposits of gritty reason.”
For him, the only constant is decay, and from a context of dissolution and decomposition emerges an architecture of absolute presence, which can be understood only as the absence of any kind of human order and which generates a feeling of being lost in space.
Smithson attempted to to develop artistic concepts in association with forces of nature: concepts that did not offer any solutions, but rather took into account their own failure, thematizes their own disappearance.

"You might say that my work is like a an artistic disaster. It is a quiet catastrophe of mind and matter."
…the disappearnce of architecture, whether as the nucleus of social life, as built structure under the influence of natural forces, or as an ideological framework behind motifs of desire.

Folie, S. 2009 Modernism as a ruin : an archaeology of the present Nürnberg: Verlag für Moderne Kunst, 2009.

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