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Cyprien Gaillard | France

Belief in the Age of Disbelief, 2005

Etching
36x47 cm

Courtesy of Bugada & Cargnel, Paris

Between iconoclasm and minimal aesthetics, romanticism and Land Art, the work of Cyprien Gaillard shows contemporary architecture as a modern ruin on the verge of being taken over by nature.

In Belief in the Age of Disbelief Gaillard has introduced tower blocks into 17th Century Dutch landscape etchings. These post-war structures, once a symbol of utopian promise that have now come to represent racial conflict, urban decay, criminality and violence, have been seamlessly assimilated into a rural idyll. Some tower blocks have been positioned in the composition like a defiant medieval fortress, others as apocalyptic ruins. Just like 18th century French "ruiniste" painter Hubert Robert did when he painted the Louvre as an imaginary ruin (1796), Gaillard follows French philosopher Denis Diderot's advice according to which "One must ruin a palace to make it an object of interest".

Gaillard comments on the relationship between romanticism and decay, and architectures' inherent communicative power.