I want to explain how the works of Antonion Gaudi impacted me. Gaudi was inspired by Nature, it feels classical and to me evokes Rococo, at least compared to the surrounding minimalistic and inhuman architecture and industrial design of our times. Gaudi feels natural, to the point of obviousness, it's the feeling of the architecture and design that just fits, it's human design. I think we have lost even the desire, the classical will to reach nature back into our civilized worlds. We have forgotten this, maybe since the 70's, with the obvious failure of the hippies and associated movements, who tried to reach Nature too bluntly, too literally. We all became a little bit Republican after that, and forgot the need for humanology. Less became more, Small became beautiful, straight lines became the norm and anything else was purged out off everything. The Japanese in their genius have been trying to reinvent natural, ergonomic shapes however with not a big enough success that it would regenerate the old spirits that Gaudi shouted in my head each time I saw his works.
Gaudi means "it's OK, it's necessary to create more, to get more in touch with what feels right. It's OK and necessary to create curves and rounds and ellipsoid windows. It's OK and necessary to be fun, and it certainly is OK and necessary that it takes much, much more work to create the objects that support that fun, because that's what feels right and the fun is not only about the fun, it's also what works for humans and what is good. It's absolutely and seriously OK to experiment with decorations, until the decorative aspect of things reaches the point, the balance when it's no longer unessential." We have mired our vision with the opposite of superfluous rules, we have accepted straight cubes and flat worlds that felt wrong for the sake of a short-term efficiency which faked being durable.
I link this to the current disaffection of our school system and thereby of our intelligentsia, of our social conscience (our superego), in social sciences, what the French also call human sciences. It is the same false belief in the need for utilitarian economical viewpoints that creates for a big part the falsehood of people's perceptions.
What is terrible with such a fantastic idea is the simplicity to deny its truth, to answer "no, this is not needed" in front of Gaudi's exorbitant greatness. To say "his work does not contain anything specially human" because we cannot prove or define what feels right. It would be wrong to respect or celebrate Gaudi as a cerebral artist, to define round shapes as conceptual design. However we can complain about straight lines being inhuman, as they shout their fakeness with perhaps the same obviousness (at least to me) that Gaudi's work implies about what humans are all about.

3 comments: said...

that s interesting

SaK said...

As a student of architecture, I agree 100% with you; I sometimes feel like an outsider on university because of my views; most of the people there are into modernism, and I`m not very interested in it, I like Gothicism, Baroque, Art Nouveau, organic forms, people like Gaudi, or organic modern architects like Toyo Hito, Zaha Hadid, Santiago Calatrava, all architects trat try to mimic nature forms as oposed to modernism and rationalism.
Have you read the famous essay "ornament & Crime" by modern austrian architect Adolf Loos? I`s the root of the modernist mentality, and I disagree with it, he talks about romanticism, ornament and organicism as "degenerate" (using that word to describe an artform definitely reminded me of something...) and inmoral, nonsensical, even when in university they sell the essay as "the total true of architecture", I read so much closemindedness, hatred and intolerance in it, the opposite of architecture as an art form and imagination, so square minded.
It was nice to read your blog, makes me feel like I`m not the only one that thinks that way!

Pierre said...

SaK: thank you again for your comment and reposting your original comment. I wanted to take some time before responding again, see if time might have enhanced our visions. I think we both understand that Loos' essay is deeply dependent on the period it was written, and I understand how it was used to justify over-simplistic design choices that probably originated in economic decisions. So much of our world is based on economy, and architecture is the most expensive artistic practice. Schools are probably inclined and paid by the industry to teach minimalism, because that's that what works in the industry and is the cheapest, so is better for the schools. Never trust anyone, as they say in movies :-/ .