Our globalized era can be characterized as an age of ruins, because they surround us everywhere. The exhibition Contemporary Ruins examines the always-fascinating aesthetic potential of ruins, on the one hand, as well as their political and economic causes and implications, on the other. The process traces a historical development, moving from the traditional idealization of ruins as a source of contemplative meditation on a distant past to an interpretation of ruins more in step with present times, which questions their creation and current significance in detail.
That ruins today need to be “decoded” differently than they were through classic observation, has been exemplarily pointed out by the art and architecture historian Robert Harbison in his book, The Built, the Unbuilt and the Unbuildable (1993): “Very seldom do we know how a building fell into ruin, and assume it is a single, repeated process. One may be surprised to observe that the ragged edge left on a large apartment block by a gas explosion is picturesque, or to enjoy a visit to a village unpeopled by an earthquake. In these the emptiness came all at once, which usually accumulates over years.” The diversity of today’s ruins and their specific cultural resonance comprise the exhibition’s theme.
Dorothee Albrecht, Morehshin Allahyari, Francis Alÿs, Katya Gardea Browne, Clemens Botho Goldbach, Arata Isozaki, Gordon Matta-Clark,
Ryuji Miyamoto, Marike Schuurman, Manit Sriwanichpoom