In the last thirty years, after the postmodern inclination to honor the past with kitsch buildings, there has been a resurgence of architectural restoration implying that ruins, as a subject, have been under a process of value recognition. Thus, many buildings were restored regardless of aestheticism. Alongside these restoration activities, there is a new architectural movement supported by archaeology and cultural geography, that considers these recycled products as artifacts, are reduced to an artifice. In contrast, there is a tendency to celebrate the fragmented ruins, those incomplete in themselves.
These concepts have their precedent in the Renaissance, when a cultural elite felt that the ruins were legible remnants, repositories of written knowledge. The ruins were taken as examples of purified architectures under a new appreciation of its inherent beauty and its venerable decay, to the point that the excavations of Pompeii and other discoveries in Rome, marked the roots of SXVI architectural styles.
Ruins in the cliff
Here is my digital art of ruins, as an homage to them.
The last two images are digital artistic manipulation of photographs. Afghanistan is based on a documentary photograph at Guardian.co.UK.
To complete my thoughts, let´s read Susan Sontag´s words from On Photography (1977):
¨Photography is an elegiac art, a twilight art. Most subjects photographed are, just by virtue of being photographed, touched with pathos. An ugly or grotesque subject may be moving because it has been dignified by the attention of a photographer. A beautiful subject can be the object of rueful feelings, because it has aged or decayed or no longer exists. All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt. (…..) The consequences of lying have to be more central for photography than they ever can for painting, because the flat, usually rectangular images which are photographs make a claim to be true that paintings can never make. A fake painting (one whose attribution is false) falsifies the history of art. A fake photograph (one which has been retouched or tampered with, or whose caption is false) falsifies reality.¨