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Splitting and Doubling: Spaces for Contemporary Living in Works by Gordon Matta-Clark, Kurt Schwitters and Gregor Schneider

Berstrand, Tordis (2013) Splitting and Doubling: Spaces for Contemporary Living in Works by Gordon Matta-Clark, Kurt Schwitters and Gregor Schneider. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:47433)

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The thesis addresses the question of dwelling as a challenge and concern in the twenty-first century. It does so on the basis of three works of art, all exercising radical spatial reconfigurations of existing residential buildings. The thesis argues that these works created in the twentieth century bring strategies forward for a contemporary living space of interest today. Furthermore, that the agency of the artistic gesture exceeds the scope of the architectural work when addressing the subject of home and house in critical ways. The importance of this engagement lies in an incompatibility observed between ideas about dwelling and the experience of the contemporary age. A prevalent desire for a permanently settled and stable living space is at odds with increasingly transient and nomadic present-day lifestyles – the thesis asks how come such concepts without application endure.

Literary works, concerned with the process of modernisation in the twentieth century, are called upon to qualify this problem of dwelling in our time. While the texts provide insight into the dialectics of the modern, the chosen works of art unfold three living spaces settled in the moment of their making. When answering the immediate contextual setting with an environment for living beyond conventional building practices, Gordon Matta-Clark’s Splitting (1974), Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbau (1927-37) and Gregor Schneider’s HAUS u r (1985-today) give clues to the nature of the contemporary dwelling. As a living space beyond conceptualisation, this dwelling does not require a whole house to be held in place nor does it rely on walls for spatial differentiation. Instead, a framework for coexistence is articulated as a space of resistance to the forces of the modern, threatening to render all dwellers homeless. The thesis challenges the contemporary architect with the task of participating in the creation of this space.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Fontana-Giusti, Gordana
Thesis advisor: Wood, Sarah
Uncontrolled keywords: Architecture Art Philosophy Critical theory
Subjects: N Visual Arts > NA Architecture
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Kent School of Architecture and Planning
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2015 12:12 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:23 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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