Friday, May 29, 2009

Ruins serve sometimes better

A gothic ruin by the German painter Caspar David Friedrich.

A veteran is visiting the tomb of a long dead hero. Maybe it’s worth to mention that the tomb of this hero (Ulrich von Hutten) is in a well-preserved chapel. The ruin is a pure invention of Friedrich to emphasize decay and failure, like the decapitated statue of Faith in the niche, the tomb and the evening light.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Gothic skeletons

One of the main reasons why gothic ruins seems in many cases the best ones, the most morbid ones, is their resemblance with a gigantic skeleton. It’s immanent in their architecture that the fragile structure, the flying buttresses and the ribbed vaults remind of a dead body.

That was already realized in older days and many said that the Gothic church symbolized the skeleton of Christ, while the Romanesque church was the flesh body of Christ. Though the idea was clear (and morbid enough) there was no way to play with it. Sure that Romantic painters used that association to show a kind of "Memento mori" when they painted gothic ruins. But it was only a kind of reminiscence.

So the idea was on the table but nobody could make use of it, because that mighty ribs could only be a symbol of the body of Christ. Probably the first who exploited it was the Swiss artist H.R. Giger who became famous for his design for the film Alien (1980 he got an Oscar for that).

Like in many of his artworks he mixed in Alien biological and mechanical elements with an architecture which is abandoned a long time a ago and reminds of bones and has a strong subliminal gothic influence. The best example is the bar in the H.R. Giger Museum in Château St. Germain, Gruyères, Switzerland.

More photos on the website

Friday, May 22, 2009

Detroit's Decay

An abandoned theatre in Detroit, a true romantic ruin. It’s from the website of the two French photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre, who made a series called "The ruins of Detroit."

Monday, May 18, 2009


Joseph Mallord William Turner: Melrose Abbey

Thursday, May 14, 2009


In 1979 when the Chernobyl disaster (1986) was still far in the future the Russian film director Andrei Arsenyevich Tarkovsky made this impressive melancholic movie.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Day After Tomorrow

In my opinion the film “The Day After Tomorrow” (2004) is a typical example for that fascination with ruins and the own decay. Sure it pretends to be a warning against the effects of global warming. But essentially the film itself and probably every viewer is much more attracted by the beautiful images of the destroyed New York. All that politically correct nonsense about global warming or cooling (who will believe that it could be happen like this?) is a lame excuse to present the frozen New York.

I think, it has to be New York, no other city in the whole world could provide this effect.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Fascination with ruins

When I am looking at Photos of 9/11 I can not avoid the thoughts that many people wished something like this to happen. Not the bad guys in Afghanistan or the envious guys in Europe and other parts of the world, no, the good Americans themselves.

Sure not because they wanted all that people to die, but because there exists a morbid lust for destruction and decay. And I’m not talking about the destruction of the enemy how it can be enjoyed in thousands of computer games, I am talking about the fascination and yearning for someone’s own end: The fascination with ruins.