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Ruins (Documents of Contemporary Art) [Paperback]

Brian Dillon
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Aug 2011 Documents of Contemporary Art
The "ruins" of the modern era are the landmarks of recent art's turn toward site and situation, history and memory. The abiding interest of artists in ruination and decay has led in particular to the concept of the modern ruin - an ambiguous site of artistic and architectural modernism, personal and collective memories, and the cultural afterlife of eras such as those of state communism and colonialism. Contemporary art's explorations of the ruin can evoke on the one hand diverse experiences of nostalgia and on the other a ceaselessly renewed encounter with catastrophes of the recent past and apprehensions of the future. For every relic of a harmonious era or utopian dream stands another recalling industrial decline, environmental disaster, and the depredations of war. This anthology provides a comprehensive survey of the contemporary ruin in cultural discourse, aesthetics, and artistic practice. It examines the development of ruin aesthetics from the early modern era to the present; the ruin as a privileged emblem of modernity's decline; the relic as a portal onto the political history of the recent past; the destruction and decline of cities and landscapes, with the emergence of "non-places" and "drosscape"; the symbolism of the entropic and decayed in critical environmentalism; and the confusing temporalities of the ruin in recent art--its involution of timescales and perspectives as it addresses not just the past but the future. Artists surveyed include Edgar Arceneaux, Miroslaw Balka, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Walead Beshty, Martin Boyce, Gerard Byrne, Adam Chodzko, Jeremy Deller, Katja Eydel, Angela Ferreira, Cyprien Gaillard, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Susan Hiller, Roger Hiorns, Runa Islam, Ilya Kabakov, Joachim Koester, Robert Kusmirowski, Zoe Leonard, Vera Lutter, Goshka Macuga, Teresa Margolles, Dorit Margreiter, Edgar Martins, Julie Mehretu, Christian-Philipp Muller, Mike Nelson, Paulina Olowska, The Otolith Group, Philippe Parreno, Mai-Thu Perret, Walid Raad - The Atlas Group, Conrad Shawcross, Robert Smithson, Rachel Whiteread and Jane & Louise Wilson. Writers include Magali Arriola, J.G. Ballard, Jean Baudrillard, Svetlana Boym, Giuliana Bruno, J.J. Charlesworth, Barbara Clausen, Jonathan Crary, Jacques Derrida, Jorg Heiser, Martin Herbert, Andreas Huyssen, Patrick Keiller, Darian Leader, Mark Lewis, James Lingwood, Tom McDonough, Jeremy Millar, Celeste Olalquiaga, Nina Power, Ralph Rugoff, Lytle Shaw, Iain Sinclair, Robert Smithson, Rebecca Solnit, Susan Stewart, Anthony Vidler, Paul Virilio and Gilda Williams.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Whitechapel Art Gallery (1 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 085488193X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0854881932
  • Product Dimensions: 14.9 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"A useful primer on a subject of perennial interest. Each generation finds something new among the ruins, and this is a good guide to the ruin in contemporary art." - Amy Trendler, "Library Journal" "Under Brian Dillon's inspired editorial guidance, this survey of the moods and meanings of ruin and dereliction is as thought-provoking and perceptive as it is intrinsically poetic. It will offer its riches to anyone who has pondered what might be termed the mortality of materials, and read in their demise new and strange accounts of our own condition." - Michael Bracewell, Writer, novelist and cultural commentator "Here the ruin is not the end of an artefact but rather the beginning of an investigation. From the forensic analysis of the physicality of fragments revealing the relations that go into the making and unmaking of objects and commodities to the virtual debris of philosophy, it is in its ruined form that a thing reveals its fossilized forces; and from this scattered mess we can start to assemble the connections of a new reality." - Eyal Weizman, Architect; Director of the Centre of Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London

About the Author

Brian Dillon is the UK editor of Cabinet and the author of In the Dark Room, Sanctuary, and The Hypochondriacs. He is an editorial board member of TATE Etc. and Art Review, and a regular contributor to numerous journals including Artforum and frieze. Since 2008 he has been AHRC Research Fellow in the Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Kent, Canterbury.

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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A varied anthology of texts on the theme of ruins 9 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The back cover explains the book as follows:
"This anthology offers a guided tour of the modern ruin as a portal onto what is of vital interest to artists in the culture and politics of the recent past. Among its subjects are the signifying roles of entropy and decay, 'non-places' and 'drosscape' in a critical environmental art, and the disorienting character of the relic and the spectral in contemporary artworks - an involution of perspectives and timescales that addresses not just the past but the future."

All texts are divided in four main parts more or less chronological:
Modernity in ruins, 20
The military-industrial sublime, 100
Drosscape, 138
The future now, 186

It reads more or less easily depending on the style of the source author, and the interest of any single reader. Every text is given the full reference of the original publication, and its original notes, where appropriate.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 24 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent book. The essays are varied and extremely valuable for any visual practioner or theorist interested in this area of study.
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