El Espacio Raptado, by Javier Maderuelo

El Espacio Raptado, by Javier Maderuelo

Nicholas Socrates

2008

Javier Maderuelo in El Espacio Raptado, analyzes the rich volumes of “interferences” that have taken place between architecture and sculpture from beginnings of the decade of the Sixties.

A renewed interest is initiated to locate the fine arts within the framework of architecture, with a purpose of knowing and establishing new concepts within both disciplines – interrelated.

Sleepy Sculpture since the glorious times of Ancient Greece, has been waking up, during this century, revitalizing certain aspects related to the architectural language.

The common rediscovery of the interrelationship of Architecture and sculpture is generating a series of rich relationships and interests between the two disciplines;

A revolution of the arts is activated.

Discovering affinities in the intentions and procedures that lead to the convergence of new borders between architecture and sculpture.

This no-man’s land between the two borders of the movements of architecture and sculpture, are constantly being transgressed

with an interchange of techniques and experiences.

Connecting the physical and conceptual space

The placed forms keep us awake to the changing nature of todays art.

Architecture, other-than-consciously, is inspired and interested in the world of fine art,

Sculptures overflowing in their scale occupying comparable volumes to those buildings around it have a defendant architectural character.

They use their own geometry to the architecture.

Their External forms and elements are taken from the construction of buildings.

The strategies of simulation and reconstruction techniques used by the architecture and the simultaneous sculpture are interchangeable in such a way that, the works seem to belong to a same formal family and ideological position.

Instead of the sculptures being a model of itself, they are constructed, and made with architectural materials like bricks, steel profiles & reinforced concrete.

The near space, geometry, the scale, the materials and even the techniques and the procedures, of the sculpture; and its new space proposals, developed in the sculpture, are conditionally formal and conceptually – the same as architectural expositions and creations.

Extending to the area being developed on urban scales –

Definitively they talk the space of architecture;

Its forms, functionality and anthropomorphist frame.

The high technological development in glass and steel and other material over the last ten years is an important factor for this surge of modern architecture.

The architects, thanks to these new materials, like concrete, steel, glass and plastic, have been able to free themselves of the heavy walls of load and are able to control the three-dimensional space in similar ways to the making of sculptures.

Only at this point in history modernism in its pure form and

dissolution of materiality can be fully realized.

These latest developments make it possible to design and build buildings which the modernists had envisioned and dreamed about in the early phase of modernism, but did not have the technology to actually build buildings which could be so sleek and almost translucent.

Hans Ibelings, labels these contemporary works of minimal form, minimal material, and minimal character as “Supermodern.”

Mies van der Rohe’s building vision of glass tower high rise buildings, conceived in the early part of the century, for the Friedrichstrasse in Berlin, could only be realized 70 years later.  Also buildings as the ‘Bibliotheque Nationale’ in Paris by Dominique Perrault, the ‘Fondation Cartier’ by Jean Nouvel or the Louvre pyramid by the Amercian architect Pei – are a few examples.

What has the architecture and the sculpture of previous years have in common?

The similarities, and distinguishes and their causes of both disciplines continue to maintain their own character.

In the past, sculpture has always been imbued with the traditional forms of the architecture.

A same style, was common to both works, complementing each other, in the monumental mission

The functional union towards these works acquired a dominant space effect.

Many of these sculptures lose their force when are uprooted from their primitive location to be located in museums,

the sculptural work was thought and realised based on the environmental urban space or of the specific place, which gives a sense of unity, also taking its own essence as well.

A good part of the sculpture of this century is not figurative

Abstract art can be considered the most representative art of this century

With the Intention to be pure art.

An expression of the artists feelings.

Or the aesthetical experience of the observer.

Sculpture is the expression of an identity,

expressing its beauty through the connection of life & form.

It’s the creation of a prototype in every new work.

The concentrated quintessence of the city

Opening up a perspective allowing us to  understand the social contruction of the art.

The public sculpture has to be open, usefull and common.

The public sculpture represents the search for a cultural history;

With certain social functions.

With a shared reference and an experience of collective values from its own aesthetics.

Each work existing according to the different configurations and materials related to the industrial processes with which these works are elaborated.

Overlapping and mixing dissimilar fragments, form possibilities of metaphorical suggestions.

Extracting an eternity of transitory, archetypal and futuristic forms;

offering new readings that serve the reality.

Maintaining humanities state of creative uncertainty against the apparent security of the normative state of the art.

waking up the imagination of the viewer that hungers them to follow their life until the end of this exciting adventure.

Art always offers us a story of how each city/ area sees its self in relation to its era and its physical enviroment. Speaking of the strength of the culture.

The qualities and virtues of a space, respond to and, are summed up by the art work.

The art work becomes symbolic for the collective.

The quality of the space understood by the whole: A strong important symbolic space.

Public art, now integrated in the collective experience, becomes a value of social interaction and communication.

Creating a pleasure and commercial centre with extensive areas for recreation and peace.

When seen from two different disciplines; they try to have a discussion on the space of the same physical place that is formed between both.

placed in a plane of equality with the architecture;

sculpture wants to compare its self with the architecture.

It does not compete with the architecture, nor tries to occupy its dominos: simply they try to compare themselves,

The relationship between both arts cannot be specified in terms of comparison – to understand the concept, it is necessary to perceive the poetic placings of the physical manifestations.

Sculptures, with the qualities of “presence” have been able to dominate on majors scales.

trying to obtain that the work manages to be centre of attention to its spectators – the presence quality is not a new discovery.

resources are used to accentuate the centralising of a powerful centre that, like a magnet, is able to attract the glances of the spectator.

Specific geometry characterized to minimalist works acquires a forceful and specific physical presence.

In some ancient cases/ periods the public sculpture is used as a power demonstration;

In front of the enermy, and as a threat, also for a symbol of strength in front of their own people. This is the case of the Egyptian & Aztec temples and pyramids.

The predominance of the monument, in classical & neoclassical sculptural & architectural, arise in the city like an imposition of power; demonstrated with commemorative reinforcements of the exhalation of saints and celebrities;

the raising of the human figure like the supreme subject.

It is the power of supposed political, military or cultural victories, or based on a being, of ontological permanence, of an incarnated objective beauty; establishes a dialogue union between monument and city, so that history and the public, through art, does not forget the figure and name of that personality of power.

The construction of museums at the end of the XVIII century allows the access to people for the contemplation of these collections.

Within the continually maintained  walls of the museum, there is a certain private air.

The museum is like a support, a shop window, where by the artist “installs” his plastic work

An “architectural installations” contents share similar ideas.

The painting of representational spaces took a radical turn in the age of the cubist movement; the possibility of not having to represent reality, emanated from the first experiments of abstract painting.

Almost simultaneously, architecture too changed dramatically,

sculpture followed.

In the Sixties sculpture overflows the container of the museum or the gallery of art to invade the public space.

The sculpture conquers great sizes,

It recovers the place, seizing a meaningful capacity.

Taking art out of the galleries into the public domain,

With the motivation to transform and to enrich.

Public art can live in natural parks, parks in the city, libraries, hospitals, streets, squares, plazas, housing estates, public buildings, shopping centres, airports,

A very wide context.

Anywhere where people work, live and take their leisure.

Public art can take on many different forms and shapes;

Small sculptures, big sculptures, murals, paintings, street furniture, buildings, fountains, bridges and arches, communication towers, signalling systems, sport infrastructures…

Also in the Sixties, sculpture and architecture begin to happen as one continued series of interferences, covering an extensive fan of possibilities.

The conquest of the functionality of the sculpture; its interference in the field of the architecture is realised in the beginning of the Seventies, whose mission is to alter the space and to transform it into its perceptual content, emphasizing, its unsuspected particularitities.

“The function of the sculpture consists of seizing and occupying the space,” Carl Andre.

Is it justified for its function?

The function(s) of art in urban space exist regardless of the artistic creational intention.

Public art has different functions;

  1. to commemorate
  2. to improve the visual landscape
  3. to help economic regeneration – through tourism and investment
  4. to help artistic and cultural regeneration
  5. to identify a community
  6. to help people manage a public space
  7. to improve public quality of life

An ornamental boost; “All is valid”

Public art, working in relation with the rich surrounding architecture and landscape, where space is created and the measurement of time is curved and is transmuted.

the recreation of spaces, is similar to that inside an art museum.

Thinking about public art and its integration into urban spaces

What do we consider to be art?

And what do we/ can we not consider art?

Not all art located in a public space is public art.

Public art, generally speaking, in its traditional, generic sense is an artwork placed in a public space, which is ordered, paid and property of the state.

There it is conceived and achieved according to a set environment.

A specific type of art, placed in open public space, whose destiny is the eternity of non specialized citizens in contemporary art.

It is not a style and it develops regardless of forms or the materials and scales.

Public art, when used in its universal sense, includes many different possibilities;

v Being public art existing against private art  – carried out and  placed by private initiative, which is paid by all.

v Art in public spaces, private initiative art or semi-public art, which includes corporate art.

v Art in space and public use, in spaces which have a public function.

v The artwork is private or has a semi-public nature.

“Urban place is a place of objects…things made – and between the objects & the work of art there is a hierarchy difference;

a difference in the quality, the value – but always within the same category or the same series.” [1]

Urban spaces can be defined as in a series of graduations between public & private.

Art in urban spaces is making up an urban phenonomen.

Public art is made for the citizens & is located in his/ her environment.

“Works of art” – being monuments or moving objects – make up the environmental fabric of modern life.

There is always a close relationship between art and the city;

Man and his physical environment created by himself – being a reflection of man (who created it), whilst simultaneously influencing him and his behaviour.

The city has always been a setting where the cultural manifestations of each historic period have met. An essential aspect for the definition of the city.

Its image transforms itself due to different social, political and economic situations.

The city being an ever-evolving work of art.

Urban art is an integrated art in urban space

Environmental art is an art closely linked to the environment.

Art in the landscape is found in gardens and rural environments

In each of these cases – the function and relationship is established with/ by its environment; to the public will vary significantly.

In rural civilisations public art does happen and has a very complex social strategy.

There are always differentiating controlling functions of art, which are always present, but with predominant aspects in different stages.

The concept of public art is closely linked with that of public space

“a common ground where people carry out the functional activities and rituals that bind  a community, whether it is in their normal daily routines, or the periodic festivities.”

WAA, Public Space. Cambridge University Press USA 1992

All public art becomes a part of the visual culture.

There are different types of urban spaces.

The re-use of abandoned or neglected or under used areas becomes apparent.

As public life develops with the culture – new spaces are needed, and older ones remain discarded or inactivated.

Cultural action, through cultural programs, can activate determined spaces.

The positioning of the sculpture must be appropriate according to the different placings on the urban geography

preserving the cultural and environmental heritage.

Ramonede Josep, “Comunicacion”. La Vanguardia 30. 12. 1994

“at present public space can be equally ‘Las Ramblas’, as some big stores, a park and a football ground, the street, and a big disco.”

All spaces except for those strictly private can be considered public spaces.

An ideal space is supportive, democratic and meaningful.

a sculpture healthily integrated with the urban environment.

is the art work which is part of the architectural fabric.

or has it been placed there in relation to internal or external architectural spaces?

Public art, in the past, is sometimes critized for being: half-hearted, or inappropriate.

It can be considered as a decorative after thought;

“from bad to worse”, or “the turd in the plaza”.

Kapoor, the artist of the tremendous Cloud Gate Sculpture situated in Chicago’s Millennium Park, explained that what is often meant by the label ‘public art’ is more closely related to ‘a decoration in front of a building’ rather than a genuine consciousness of space. To Kapoor, this misunderstanding has always been a challenge because, in most cases, the art object made for a public place is planned as an independent entity. The relation between artistic creation, the architecture and environment is not taken into account. According to Kapoor, the conception of a public artwork

must be connected to issues concerning the ‘space outside’ and should not be confined to the object itself.

Interdisciplinary is necessary to therefore observe these works from a multiple perspectives.

The efforts aim at the encountering a common space exposing a shared sensitivity.

Milizzia set three basic principles for art in public spaces;

  1. They have to be significiant and expressive.
  2. With a simple structure.
  3. With a clear and brief interpretation.

From the moment in which the architect plans the presence of public art in the space – the aesthetic and the strategic value that it requires has to be considered and its implications for the enviroment.

Public art contributes to the collective visual quality and converts spaces into places for people – distinguishing an urban space and providing an identity – contributing to creating pleasant environments.

The possibility of such a profound transformation of space depends on the artist/ architect having taken physical and environmental factors into context.

Integration of various disciplines: psychology, anthropology, planning, architecture, fine art, contemporary art – and their implicated areas of responsibility – political and bureaucratical;

All contribute to the attainment of sound and foreseeable results.

The process of artistic creation of public work should be similar to that followed and performed in an architectural project, in the way in which, it can be changed accordingly to others varying needs and requirements.

There is a fine line between public art and architecture.

The artists projects are placed in the spaces created and modified by the architect.

The space produced by the artist is inscribed and operates in the architectural space.

Artists are to be included in the conception of architectural forms, at an environmental level: Environmental configuration by Artistic intervention at the creational stage.

The sculpture preferably is developed in the space. It takes part in the construction &  reconstruction of the territory, and too on the urban planning.

Integral art in the environment becomes a generating focus inn the urban space.

The integration of public art depends on the interaction that it maintains with the environment & with the perception one has of it

The integration of public art, in a specific context, referred to by its form, by the individual and the community – and their level of acceptance and appreciation of it.

(Light and sound are the two fundamental aspects that exert stimulus in human beings).

Integrating environmental stimulation and aesthetic experience.

And how does it affect the use of the space?  What are the publics needs?

It is important to define these questions as a part of its conception.

The publics needs and wishes are considered and worked integrally with the aesthetic and stylistic aspects – Avoid form prevailing over function.

Stylistically pleasant art, possessing such flavour, with characteristics which are accessible and comprehensibly understanding – in both scale and form, achieves remarkable results for social integration developing human relationships.

Art has deep social dimensions, which makes it popular and communicatable.

The art must be accepted and appreciated by the largest number of people

There is a communication between art and observer

The conscious mind looks at the work and appreciates its merits as an independent piece.

Whilst the other than conscious mind sees and responds accordingly to the relationship with its placing.

The artwork always brings about a change in the environment

Does the intended art work imply a change on the usage and status on the proposed site? which will affect the community?

“This requires some knowledge on social and intellectual history, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, and art. In short it requires knowing how a given group sees and values the world in which they live and how this vision and values affect their action.”

Rapoport A, Aspectos de la calidad del entrono, La Gaya Ciencia, Barcelona 1974.

There is a growing concern in developing countries about the precedents of the micro-cosmic environmental conditions.

There are serious imbalances in the life styles and therefore the human psyche of many.

Key social issues we believe must be addressed in the future evolution in public spaces.

Public space and its use can help create a more human culture.

Public art must now go further than just being artistic.

They must have a social duty contributing in a direct and committed way;

For the improvement of the environment and consequently human behaviour, providing more comfort, security, peace and pleasure.

References:

El Espacio Raptado, by Javier Maderuelo.

Public art & its intergration in the urban enviroment,

by Montserrat Casanovas.

Public sculpture, interaction between disciplinary fields

by Ascen Garcia.

Wikipedia, http://www.wikipedia.org


[1] Argan G.C, historia de la ciudad como historia del arte,

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