Architecture and war are not incompatible. Architecture is war. War is architecture. I am at war with my time, with history, with all authority that resides in fixed and frightened forms. I am one of millions who do not fit in, who have no home, no family, no doctrine, no firm place to call my own, no known beginning or end, no “sacred and primordial site.” I declare war on all icons and finalities, on all histories that would chain me with my own falseness, my own pitiful fears. I know only moments, and lifetimes that are as moments, and forms that appear with infinite strength, then “melt into air.” I am an architect, a constructor of worlds, a sensualist who worships the flesh, the melody, a silhouette against the darkening sky. I cannot know your name. Nor you can know mine. Tomorrow, we begin together the construction of a city.
— Lebbeus Woods
An exhibition of american architect, artist, professor and theorist Lebbeus Woods (1940-2012) opened in Berlin museum of architectural graphics, about whon we wrote in the last issue of archmag magazine, dedicated to architecture and war (see page 10, ‘Sarajevo window’).
Lebbeus Woods was a wonderful teacher and philosopher, theorist and experimenter. His works on Yugoslavia are especially interesting.
The exhibition brings together pieces from series: ‘4 Cities & Beyond’ (1987), ‘Centricity’ (1987-1988), ‘Region M’ (1984), ‘Underground Berlin’ (1988), sketches for ‘Meta Institute’ (1994-1995), drawings ‘Geomagnetic Flying Machines’ (1988). Christoph a. Kumpusch — Lebbeus’s friend and partner, curated the exhibition, organized it by dividing the exposition into 5 groups.
We should say about Lebbeus’s work ‘Architecture and war’.
Many artists have turned to this topic — Russian artist Vasily Vereschagin, officer, who died during the Russian-Japanese war, Pablo Picass, who shouted about horrors of war with his ‘Guernica’, German artist ‘Käthe Kollwitz’. Our contemporary artist Olga Tolstikova — in her works ‘Explosion’, ‘Troparion to the Holly Cross’.
All these artists are united with a living experience of evil, which is happening in the world, they try to waken up people from the sleep of indifference with their works.
How can one be indifferent to griefs, deaths of people, when the whole world around is out in fire? How can one be called a man, if you do not care about others? When a man becomes hard-hearted, does he stay a man?
Of course, some may see those works as a self-promotion, achieving fame on peoples’ blood. Such accusations towards Lebbeus Woods too. But in fact, they are untrue. If a man is able to respond to others’ grief, if he hasn’t yet lost the humane in him — he can’t stay away, can not stay silent about the seen horror, injustice. On the contrary, he is sincere, he yells about it, trying to reach people’s hearts. Journalist shouts with his reports, artist shouts with his paintings, Lebbeus Woods shouts with his architecture.