Constant. New Babylon
Catalogue for the exhibition Constant. New Babylon, the exhibition from October 20, 2015-February 29, 2016 at Museo Reina Sofia.
Constant. New Babylon brings together a selection of works of Constant in the framework of this project. The realization and materialization of which resorted to a wide range of expressive means (architectural models, drawings, watercolors, prints, collages, operated maps, films, slide ...). As well as an intense theoretical activity in the form of texts and lectures, with three representative examples in this catalog. Included in this catalogue are also texts by Laura Stamps, Pedro G. Romero, Mark Wigley, Trudy Van der Horst, Willemijn Stokvis and a conversation between Rem Koolhaas and Pascal Gielen.
I am not a designer but a mere provocateur. I merely make suggestions. What has been defined is the concept of New Babylon, not its physical form
For almost twenty years, Constant (Constant Anton Nieuwenhuys, Amsterdam, 1920 - Utrecht, 2005) developed models, paintings, drawings and collages that showed his conception of nomad city of the future - New Babylon, a complex and broad labyrinth that transformed the world in a single network. The land would be owned collectively and work would be fully automated by robots. People would be free to devote time to creative play.
With this exhibition, bringing together about 150 works and abundant documentary material, the Reina Sofia Museum and the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague try to spread Constant's work to a wider public. Artists, architects and curators have expressed a growing interest in Constant the last couple of years. The core of the exhibition is New Babylon as a "work of art" in the social context, in which it was conceived. The exhibition contains drawings, collages, scale models, paintings and prints, a series of reconstructions, fragments of historical films and archive materials.
The exhibition is not limited to the period between 1956 and 1974, which is usually in which New Babylon is framed; it also covers other stages, in order to show that the ideas expressed in New Babylon were already present in the work of Constant, although less clearly formulated from a much earlier time, when the CoBrA group formed in 1948 and 1951, and did not disappear completely after 1974.