17 March - 16 April 2022
With pleasure we invite you to our upcoming solo show
WITTGENSTEIN’S CABIN / CARTOGRAFIA PARA REMOCAO
Opening | Thursday 17th March 2022 | 16:00 - 20:00 (In presence of the artist)
Exhibition | 17th March until 16th April 2022
The exhibition presents two different series of works by Spanish visual artist Dionisio González (*1965). Architecture is the main feature in the photographic works of Dionisio González. Dionisio documents selected places across the globe and is thereafter re-inventing these landscapes through the incorporation of virtual constructions. His photographs are characterized by outstanding technical proficiency in photomanipulation, as well as the use of spaces and light as elements that make up an alternative reality that feels very real. For González, architecture is a language that allows him to express philosophical, political, sociological and historical statements.
Throughout his career, Dionisio González has received important recognitions such as the Pilar Juncosa and Sotheby’s Prize, the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró Prize and the European Month of Photography Arendt Award (Luxembourg), amongst others. His work is present in important institutions such as the Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum in Madrid, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago or the National Center of Contemporary Art in Paris, as well as in prominent public and private collections.
WORKS ON VIEW
Series: Cartografia Para Da RemoÇao 124 x 310 cm, Edition 1/3 Archival Pigment Print mounted on Diasec
Series: Cartografia Para Da RemoÇao, Brasil 100 x 195 cm, Edition 2/7 Archival Pigment Print mounted on Diasec
Series ‘Wittgenstein’s Cabin’, Norway 74 x 125 cm, Edition 3/7 Archival Pigment Print mounted on Diasec
Series: Cartografia Para Da RemoÇao 124 x 310 cm, Edition 1/3 Archival Pigment Print mounted on Diasec
About the Series « WITTGENSTEIN ́S CABIN »
“I am sitting here in a little place inside a beautiful fjord and thinking about the beastly theory of types.”
- Ludwig Wittgenstein
In Norway in 1914, Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) sketched and planned the construction of a wooden house on the steep shore of Lake Eidsvatnet in Skjolden, beside the Sognefjord, about a mile away from the village. In that small space, on a slope, Wittgenstein had found the tranquillity he needed to work ascetically, like a hermit, on his studies of logic. After deciding on the location in which to “ensconce” himself, in order to disappear and concentrate on the work of thinking and contemplation, he built a house and a small jetty. To access it, one had to cross the lake by boat or walk over the ice during the winter months. It was built on a stone platform - typical of local architecture - and in wood, with horizontal planks, a slate roof and rooms at different heights; one of its façades was asymmetrical.
World War I delayed Wittgenstein’s return to Norway until 1921, and his last visit to Skjolden took place in September 1950, when he was convalescing, and suffering from prostate cancer. There, with his friend Ben Richards, he studied Frege’s Foundations of Arithmetic. He had intended to come back again, and purchased a ticket on a steamship that was due to set off from Newcastle to Bergen in December, but by then he was too weak to embark on the journey. As Heidegger said, ‘we are only capable of inhabiting on the basis of rootlessness’.
This way of building from withdrawal with the purpose of study and observation is the manner in which Wittgenstein sought the feeling of flight from the world, deviation towards somewhere – another way, nowhere/nobody. It is an apparent construct, an unfenced extension in the midst of unlimited space and analgesic cold. The flight is crystallized through the harsh winter, through the snowy scenery and the clear, biting air. The literal or symbolic journey undertaken frequently runs between mountain ranges and among fronts of admonitory clouds with barely any breaks in them, like ripped curtains above the rocky peaks. Only winter, the season indicated by the north wind, the white, virgin edge of the north, where the snow blankets the earth and the animals go into hibernation, shows the runaway which slope can be used to cross the wintry, inflamed solitude.
This series ‘Wittgenstein ́s Cabin’, analyses that early structural plan of architecture, the cabin. Today, still, unaffected, genuine concepts operate on wooden houses, relating them to late romantic objects which project debates surrounding singularity and frankness. Surrounding unornamented, essential states where one lives in severe, spartan order, in more direct contact with the natural environment and in relation to subsistence and time for reflection. Wood constructions and wooden interiors in themselves act as insulation, unlike what occurs
withother materials. The possibility of increasing these values with greater ease than in traditional systems, and with a smaller loss of useful surface area, means wood is widely used as a building material in countries with extreme climates. The acoustic properties of wooden houses are excellent, as wood absorbs any waves it receives. The wooden house is a silent house. The walls of Heidegger’s cabin in the Black Forest were (are) cladded in wood shingles. Heidegger always intimated that philosophy transmuted the landscape into words through it, almost without intermediaries, as the sole shift and process between euthymia and space.
But there is something revealing and emphatic in Wittgenstein’s Norwegian cabin, and that is the confrontation, the frontality with the fjord, with the water lodged behind the action of the glaciers. Wittgenstein worked on his studies of logic on a boat his friend David Pinsent sailed in the Sognefjord. This fact, this “event” of the research, the learning and memorizing on a small aquatic means of transport, which serves as a writing desk, led me to consider the relationship of architecture with water, and of philosophy as an “amphibian” endeavour. How would Wittgenstein frame that organic building, that architectonic construction in a liquid medium with the present media? What would contemporary cabins be like in diffracting settings of propagating waves, such as the Norwegian fjords? A setting, not in the sense of fascinating backdrop or proscenium, but as a function and medium in itself. With their ductility and contractility, depending on the months of the year. With the seasonal changes of liquid to solid. “Im Anfang war die Tat” (“In the beginning was the deed”), Goethe’s verse in Faust, which Wittgenstein quoted with approval, was perhaps the rubric, the statement of all of Wittgenstein’s late philosophy. And perhaps, too, the principle from which to face the challenge of the construction of an aquatic retreat. Ultimately the Austrian philosopher would say, Am I not getting closer and closer to saying that in the end logic cannot be described? You must look at the practice of language, then you will see it.
That you will see it is the function of this series. That recreating a world of possibilities, complex but anchored in logic, which can be conceived as real. Prototypes for thought, amphibious dwellings for reflection in their double conception. Because all of these living quarters are reflections of the world (for Wittgenstein the world is the limit of language) and in turn, they are reflected on the mirror of the waters which is, in another measure of space, reverie but always flight, retreat, metamorphosis.
About the Series: "Cartografia Para A RemoÇao' - Cartographies for removal
The city and its diversity
There are many city typologies inserted within the city itself, even more so when we are talking about megalopolises such as Sao Paulo with a high population index. Thus, for example, the sprawl city or crawling city is born, which expands around airports and extensive technological enclosures and whose planning is, in most cases, speculation if not corruption. In large cities, in turn, interdictory spaces, or vetoed spaces, are being created, which are nothing more than closed, walled condominiums aimed at finding a community of equals. There is also the themed city, which is usually the central and historical nucleus.
On the other hand, there is an intra-urban city made up of irregular or unplanned settlements "assimilated" by the central city from parameters of exclusion. In such a way that poverty is dogmatically segregated, far from recognizing its demarcation, it is provided with an enclosure of combinative or propositional impossibilities with the nuclear city. These informal settlements are assigned the value of a destination that nullifies any integrative possibility. People and households that are in this social and economic situation lack opportunities to get out of it because the location of their homes in relation to the city is a factor that severely influences the process of advancement or regression of the city. A neighborhood where the vast majority of households are poor has fewer possibilities for consumption, for improving income through family or personal initiatives (in short, for employment) than a neighborhood with a greater diversity of socioeconomic sectors.
Most likely, under these conditions, poverty will be reproduced and, even with physical and social improvement and city integration programs, it will continue to be a poor neighborhood. Political-ideological resistance to regularization programs for these areas is based on all kinds of arguments, including environmental ones. The truth is that far from contemplating that some of these communities are almost a century old, governments tend to demolish them or exclude them from their radius of influence, it is a question of visibility, in this case invisibility. They do not seem to realize that in the next few years, 2 billion inhabitants will live in shantytowns and that this establishes parameters of proximity and not of otherness and remoteness.
These disaffiliated areas, in some cases central, in most cases ex/central or peripheralized, have values that contemporary architecture does not contemplate. One of them is fragmentation. The scarcity of resources does not allow to build from start to finish a habitable place that is finished, but rather a space that through a scaled time can be expanded and improved. In this sense, housing should be thought of as a process and not as a finished product, this favors mobility and growth in phases and, in turn, a better awareness of the needs, since its architecture, not being immobile, is in constant permutation, adapting or adding modules in plant depending on the deterioration or the economic means of its dwellers. This in turn generates self-sufficiency and knowledge of the land.
Another value comes from the concept of favela as a counter-figure to open spaces, as light-suppressing buildings. Their inhabitants are not registered percentage-wise, the police have no access, their modular system is the result of the leftovers of a fundamentalist ultraliberalism. Together with the funerary buildings, the favelas are the only emblems of darkness and non-surveillance. It is in this autonomy, however, where the non-differentiation between public and private space is enhanced, a fundamental and admirable aspect if we take into account that we live in an era in which the social state, in reality the political domination of social life, is threatened to say the least. From this value derives another, equally important, given the narcissism and isolationist neurosis of our regulated societies, which is more experiential and which makes possible the empowerment of group, collective, or communal proximity, a kind of neighborhood interaction and ordering of common interests that is signified through a non-architecture or populist architecture. Architecture that possesses identity traits that should be contemplated and discussed because, in some hyper-degraded areas, there are established habits and customs rooted for generations. But in addition, the favela Brazilian is accompanied by a particular dignity, which means that the more miserable the favelas are, that is, when they are generated by fragments of heteroclite materials obtained from the surplus of the megalopolis and whose execution depends on the materials collected and not on a preliminary project, the more the use of color appears as a "dignifying" element of that first base of housing-shelter. The use of color has a double application, it unifies and beautifies, and warns us that even poverty has a plastic attitude, it is the configuration of container spaces resolved from the revalidation of the material of the dump.
Therefore, any attempt at municipal planning, apart from cleaning up or providing housing units, must make possible an environment of influence. The projects must include the planning of public spaces, green areas and meeting places that allow maintaining that sense of identity and belonging. There must be assistance and maintenance of a healthy environmental reality. There must be fundamental services that self-sustain the community and avoid a diasporic displacement by "squatting" other areas of the city that already have their services available. It should favor the settlement of families in their communities of origin and reward those social housing projects that are well located in urbanized and serviced sectors, thus maximizing the use of all types of networks: health, education and transportation. It should avoid inefficient commuting for shopping, working, studying, which is time consuming and polluting. It should encourage peripheries with more opportunities from the multiplication of centers; in this way, the concentration of opportunities could be increased from denuclearization. This would avoid long displacements from the residence (where you only sleep) lacking any kind of temporary operability.
To inhabit is not only to have a shelter, an apartment or an assignable module, to inhabit is to conform a structure of extroversion and generation of contextual spaces. If the state provides shelter, den or refuge and then dissociates itself from the alterability of space, from its place and quality, the state does not provide housing but rather it confines or barricades a population; it assists it with shelter but denies it influence. This abandonment of influence is, in reality, an exercise of detraction given that the execution of housing modules is subtracted or removed from permanence, from the possibility, in short, of avoiding deterioration. All abandonment implies a loss and all loss implies deterioration, but all of them are subject to the will of the one who abandons.
Thus the so-called architecture of poverty cannot be instituted in an instantaneous act, but in a long process of planning, participation, and evaluation in which the user plays a leading role. Faced with a lack of resources, the only option is to build housing with the poverty budget, but few architects have decided to take this path. Conventional training in schools of architecture provides neither tools nor concepts to train professionals capable of facing the housing problems of the sectors retained in poverty, nor to understand that the environment modifies the human being. Among other things because the architect himself must look for problems outside architecture. It is necessary to find a way through the questions: to the ministry of housing, to the local communities... and to have a fair measure of the existing restrictions. Then all that remains is to undertake, empathize and create. And again to empathize, which is nothing else than to look for answers, and perhaps, thus persuaded and integrated, we can put aside this apocalyptic vision because, in the expression of P. Virilio, the outside begins here.