Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Exotic Ruins by Catherwood

Frederick Catherwood (1799–1854) was an English artist, architect and explorer. Like many who were interested in old ruins Catherwood began with trips to Northern Africa and the Near East, but he became really famous for his impressive detailed drawings of the ruins of the Maya civilization.

To my mind Catherwood was the first European artist who focused on the exotic aspect of ruins. They are no classical or gothic, pre modern western architecture. They are strange, alien. It fits, that they were found in the jungle, covered with earth and plants.

Here I think is the big influence of Catherwood, reaching till modern day films like "Raiders of the Lost Ark" or "Tomb Raider".

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fallout 3: Post-Apocalyptic Shooter

Here a trailer from the video Game Fallout 3.

I’m no great fan of shooter games, but seeing the really impressive ruin scenery, the cutting irony of the trailer I will think it over.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Romantic Ruin Paintings

Romantic Ruin Paintings by the Swiss symbolist painter Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901).

It’s evident how important is a spectacular illumination for a good ruin image, for photos as well.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Railway Tracks

Abandoned railway track in Spain near the Ebro Valley. You are passing old tunnels and viaducts through a mostly uninhabited landscape.

The photos were taken between Horta and Pinell de Brai.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Desktop Ruins

Two more post apocalyptic cities. I found them as wallpapers in the web. No idea what for they were made. But anyway it’s nice to see what people like to see on their desktop. Besides they are a good contrast to the garden follies from above. Despite they are follies as well.

Here we see once more the Brooklyn Bridge, indicating New York the heart of the apocalypse.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lovely Ruin Decorations

In the 18th century ruins became fashionable as decorations in gardens and parks. These artificial ruins were called follies and should give the illusion of older traditions. First there were used classic Roman style ruins to represent a kind of bucolic Tuscan landscape. Later the taste changed more to gothic ruins looking like medieval monasteries and castles.

So it shouldn't be surprising that in Great Britain, the homeland of garden architecture, still landscaping companies are offering garden follies.

To be serious, I was surprised indeed when I stumbled upon this website. But then I found it a good idea to offer these gothic walls to "provide a charming setting for quiet contemplation or even early evening cocktails".

Monday, September 7, 2009

Nazi Architecture – Ruin Value

Probably every modern interpretation of ruins is connected with some kind of fascination with death and decay. But the necrophilic climax reached that perspective with Nazi architecture. Nearly everybody knows some photos of these monstrous gigantic buildings, which were and should be constructed to glorify Hitler's 'Thousand Year Reich.

So far, so good, we are used to the gigantomania of totalitarian dictators and societies.

But Hitler and his favorite architect Albert Speer went much further. They envisioned their buildings as ruins even before they were built. The buildings were intended to serve as monuments of the greatness of Nazi Germany. It’s clear that this didn’t refer to the Germans but only to the Nazi leaders. Hitler and Speer saw themselves as the new Pharaohs or the Roman Emperors. The people, the praised "Volk" had only to build the monuments, so that they later could stare at them with open mouth.

To achieve these effects Speer developed the so called "Theory of Ruin Value". In his memoirs he wrote that he wanted "to build structures which even in a state of decay after hundreds or thousands of years would more or less resemble Roman models. To illustrate my idea I had a romantic drawing prepared. It showed what the reviewing stand of the Zeppelin Field would look like after generations of neglect, overgrown with ivy, its columns fallen, the walls crumbling here and there, but the outlines still clearly recognizable."

With that drawing he convinced Hitler, who was exited while many of the other Nazi leaders were scandalized because of that obvious necrophilia.

When Hitler’s dreams had transformed Germany into a landscape of ruins, he said that the Germans deserve to vanish because "those who remain alive after the battles are over are in any case inferior persons, since the best have fallen."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Miru Kim: In Love with Ruins

Miru Kim is a Korean American artist living in New York. She explores industrial ruins and underground tunnels in New York, Berlin, Paris and other places. There she photographs herself nude. In her own words: "Nature had really reclaimed the whole complex … a human figure in the picture to become a part of that nature."

This clip shows Miru Kim in 2008 talking about her work. I like her point of view and her way of talking about her work and last not least her photos.