“i felt it was a kind of provocation, recently, to run into a phrase from valery: ‘we must always apologize for talking about painting.’ indeed, there is something in painting that does not let itself be reduced to words, but it is also true that we no longer believe in the purity of media or of languages, and so we keep on trying.” – graciela speranza [1]

10/08/2011 § 2 Comments

trisha browncompass (2006)

dimitri pikionisgarden plan

john soane, bank of england (1833)

john hejduk, victims prophecy for berlin (1986)

john hejdukvictims (detail of soloist labyrinth) (1986)

will insley, one city – 400 x 400 miles (1975)

simon evans, shitty heaven (2010)

starrett & van vleck, downtown athletic club (1931)

sam jacobs, drawings for les nuits sans kim wilde (2011)

guillermo kuitca, untitled (the yerebatan cistern) (2001)

 

one has only to contemplate the scrupulousness of the operation in a text such as “notes on the synthesis of form” to get the picture.  obviously a “clean” process dealing with “clean” information, atomized, cleaned, and the cleaned again, everything is ostensibly wholesome and hygienic; but, resulting from the inhibiting characteristics of commitment, especially physical commitment, the product seems never to be quite so prominent as the process.  and something comparable might be said about the related production of stems, webs, grids, and honeycombs which, in the later ’60s, became so conspicuous an industry.  both are attempts to avoid any imputation of prejudice: and if, in the first case, empirical facts are presumed to be value-free and finally ascertainable, in the second, the co-ordinates of a grid are awarded an equal impartiality.  for, like the lines of longitude and latitude, it seems to be hoped that these will, in some way, eliminate any bias, or even responsibility, in a specification of the infilling detail.

but, if the ideally neutral observer is surely a critical fiction, if among the multiplicity of phenomena with which we are surrounded we observe what we wish to observe, if our judgments are inherently selective because the quantity of factual information is finally digestible, and if any literal usage of a “neutral” grid labours under approximate problems, the myth of the architect as eighteenth-century natural philosopher, with all his little measuring rods, balances, and retorts, as both messiah and scientists, moses and [isaac] newton (a myth which became all the more ludicrous after its annexation by the architect’s less well-pedigreed cousin, the planner), must now be brought into proximity with “the savage mind” and with everything which bricolage represents.

“there still exists among ourselves,” says claude levi-strauss,

“an activity which on the technical plane gives us quite a good understanding of what a science we prefer to call ‘prior’ rather than ‘primitive’ could have been on the plane of speculation.  this is what is commonly called ‘bricolage’ in french.” [2]

 

are you a bricoleur or grid maker?

a young hare

 

 

notes:

[1]     today’s title comes from the beginning of a conversation between graciela speranza and guillermo kuitca, for more:

Speranza, Graciela. “Conversations with Guillermo Kuitca.” Guillermo Kuitca: Everything – Paintings and Works on Paper, 1980 – 2008. Ed. Debora E. Horowitz. London: Scala, 2009. Print.

[2]     Rowe, Colin, and Fred Koetter. Collage City. Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture: an Anthology of Architectural Theory, 1965-1995. By Kate Nesbitt. New York: Princeton Architectural, 1996. 266-93. Print.

§ 2 Responses to “i felt it was a kind of provocation, recently, to run into a phrase from valery: ‘we must always apologize for talking about painting.’ indeed, there is something in painting that does not let itself be reduced to words, but it is also true that we no longer believe in the purity of media or of languages, and so we keep on trying.” – graciela speranza [1]

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You are currently reading “i felt it was a kind of provocation, recently, to run into a phrase from valery: ‘we must always apologize for talking about painting.’ indeed, there is something in painting that does not let itself be reduced to words, but it is also true that we no longer believe in the purity of media or of languages, and so we keep on trying.” – graciela speranza [1] at a young hare.

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