Back to the Future

Neil Montier, ‘The Belt’ (2009-11).

Nicolas Moulin, ‘Blanklümdermilq’ (2009).

“The best art comes from the shit.” (Moulin)

Brutalist architecture has become quite abstract – forms without function, when they used to be functional forms. (Moulin, paraphrase from memory)

The ‘contemporary’ was a postmodernist concept. Now, when we think about the present, we must also think about the present in relation to the past and the future. (Moulin, paraphrase from memory)

See also: Owen Hatherley’s interesting review of Moulin’s Site Gallery exhibition.

See also: Rowan Moore’s interesting discussion of the Park Hill estate renovation.

Following from Moulin’s description of brutalist architecture in the present as ironic ‘forms without function’, along with Hatherley’s critique of ‘pseudomodernism’ in A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain, we might note of the Park Hill renovation that it is literally a kitsch appropriation of the forms of brutalism evacuated of its radical content. That is, it is the architectural shell evacuated of its working-class inhabitants — the vitality of modernism recycled (gentrified) for middle-class consumption.*

CW — with thanks to Brian Baker.
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* Cf. Clement Greenberg, ‘The Avant-Garde and Kitsch’ (1939) in Art and Culture (1961): as much as I would distance myself from CG, his description of kitsch is (despite himself) prophetic here.

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