fertile ruins


In his monograph dedicated to The Ruin, Georg Simmel states the following regarding decayed architecture:

“The unique balance -between mechanical, inert matter which passively resists pressure, and informing spirituality which pushes upward – breaks, however, the instant a building crumbles. For this means nothing else than that merely natural forces begin to become master over the work of man: the balance between nature and spirit, which the building manifested, shifts in favor of nature. This shift becomes a cosmic tragedy which, so we fell, makes every ruin an object infused with our nostalgia; for now the decay appears as nature’s revenge for the spirit’s having violated it by making a form in its own image.”

Off course Simmel is a XIX century philosopher, so he accompanies his time, but I feel I need to point out how I think this cosmic tragedy conception of the ruin is completely superseded and no longer valid in contemporary art.

Today, I find no use on the inert perception of the ruin that dominated the siècle of Romanticism. I think it is simplistic, reductive and even asphyxiating.

I not only think there is no fight between nature and spirit, but even that abandoned spaces are positive places. I agree on the nostalgic feeling, but in an extremely creative and optimistic way.

From my point of view, ruins are “fertile ruins” that generate spaces of potency.  The vestiges are not only the end of what one day was and today is ruined; they are at the same time the beginning of unprecedented morphologies that shape ruinous potency spaces.