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Thesis 2022

Avant-garde Architecture

1. The existence of avant-garde art in the contemporary world is not obvious. Researchers cannot fully agree on what it was and when, or if, it came to an end at all. The multitude of movements called avant-gardes and neo-avant-gardes or those ascribed to them is large. Such a state of affairs makes it difficult to classify and examine them unambiguously. Futurism and Expressionism, Dada and Surrealism or Pop Art and Hyperrealism are difficult to compare, but the aims of the artists who created them have sometimes converged or at least been similar.

2. Historically, architecture had to be built according to the memorised canons and habits of the audience and the designers. This stemmed from the conviction that such premises were objective rather than subjective. Creators could not or were not able to (in a mental sense) detach themselves from memories and thoughts of the perfection remembered from the past.

3. With his actions, Marcel Duchamp contributed to the emergence of new forms in both art and architecture. His games and decomposition of the original meanings of objects developed a new approach to creating more than just artwork. Unable to build their designs, the early 20th-century architects drew them. Construction could no longer remain obvious, the shapes of buildings no longer carried the expression of their function. Expressionist sculptures appeared and there occurred a detachment from the original purpose of objects and their intellectual transformation.

4. Contemporary architecture no longer has problems with the unreal form of buildings. Form rather than function has become the primary goal and anything that will shock the recipient is allowed. Leon Chwistek, the theoretician of Polish Expressionism – Formism – urged artists to reject all the rules. A similar aim may guide today’s architecture. The drawings and sculptures from the Expressionist era have become transformable into built architecture today.

5. We are living in a state of culture which is referred to as – post-modernity. The myths of civilisation and art, such as avant-garde, modernism (modernity), and belief in one universal way of global development, have lost their persuasive power. The diversity of thoughts and forms has become a hallmark of the postmodern age. Utility, durability and beauty, which were once the sine qua non of construction, no longer apply today.

6. The thought of the early 20th-century avant-garde allowed contemporary architecture to depart from the representation of the world as we remember it. As befits the heir to the great creators, the current architecture follows a similar path, but a different one, its own, striving once again to break away from the memorised signs. As we can see, though, something does not allow it to depart completely from the memorised theoretical projects of the Expressionists, Futurists or the intellectual jokes of the Surrealists.