Mind & Matter


Architecture of Desertion

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A photograph from Marjan Teeuwen's "Destroyed Houses" series. Photo by the artist.

Despite the mad dash to urbanize many parts of the world—particularly in countries with burgeoning populations—other regions suffer the consequences of languishing economies, as seen in the documented efforts of the Shrinking Cities project. Buildings that are abandoned in such circumstances are often left to ruin, with the rare intervention conducted by artists such as Gordon Matta-Clark—who transformed abject architectural sites in the 1970s into immersive sculptures through surgical cuts and punctures.

Dutch artist Marjan Teeuwen offers another perspective on deserted architecture. Employing a much heavier hand than Matta-Clark, Teeuwen not only carves into abandoned structures, but also utilizes discarded detritus as a new surfacing material. In an uncanny combination of building reconstruction/reinterpretation and assemblage art, Teeuwen challenges us not only to consider spaces of neglect, but also the products and materials that occupied these spaces prior to their abandonment.

In her thoughtful reconstructions, Teeuwen demonstrates the value latent within discarded structures and the materials they contain. According to Rotterdam curator Cokkie Snoei, “Teeuwen’s work is in the constructive power of the building hand in hand with the power of destruction and decay, sublimated in a precarious balance."


Comments (1 Total)

  • Posted by: tateberry | Time: 8:43 AM Thursday, January 30, 2014

    Very creative! Nice work! http://www.tateberry.com

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About the Blogger

Blaine Brownell

thumbnail image Minnesota-based architect and author Blaine Brownell, AIA, is a self-defined materials researcher and sustainable building adviser. His "Product of the Week" emails and three volumes of Transmaterial (2006, 2008, 2010) provide designers with a steady flow of inspiration—a 21st-century Grammar of Ornament. Blaine has practiced architecture in Japan and the U.S. and has been published in more than 40 design, business, and science publications. The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship for 2006–07, he researched contemporary Japanese material innovations at the Tokyo University of Science. He currently teaches architecture and co-directs the M.S. in Sustainable Design program at the University of Minnesota. His book Matter in the Floating World was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2011.