niepce In 1826 Nicephore Niepce created the first permanent photography.

In the last 180 years the photographical exposure and the possibility of immortalizing an instantaneous image in all comfort generated a fascinating diversity of interpretations and camera’s uses.

Essentially, the photography becomes not only an artistic prism through which we can express our own vision over the world, but also a rigorous, almost a criminalistics instrument by means of which one analyses the reality exclusively from a visual point of view (as photographers we are not an active part of the environment we observe and the photography does not reflect the complex sensorial pollution which is indubitably incorporated in the reality of “being present”).

The analysis, from a pure compositional point of view, of two architectures that mark the opposite poles of a century constitutes the theme and the main instrument of the two photographs.

The ogival vault can belong, from a stylistic point of view, to the 12th century. But the photography is taken under the main archway of an edifice built up in 1913. The edifice is the Cleveland Tower, part of the Graduate College of Princeton University. The style is the unique Gothic Collegial, which was adopted by many universities at the beginning of the 20th century. It was used inclusively by Ralph Adams Cram, the main architect of the residential complex dedicated to Master students. Graduate College is the first residence in the United States intended exclusively to postgraduate studies.

Why gothic? Why a classical architectural style? Purely iconographic. At the beginning of the 20th century most of the buildings with a social and intellectual strong message used styles and architectural effects borrowed from history in order to impose their visual presence. The style becomes a symbol of the institution’s “seriousness”, permanence and legitimacy. The historical charge of a typology is cognitively transferred over a new construction, conceding from the start a superior intellectual stature to it. The building becomes a symbol; looked from outside, it is an egocentric object, mainly concerned with its own existence.

The Walker Art Center from Minneapolis is considered one of the main five art institutes from the United States. The new wing, opened in 2005, is undoubtedly a project representative for the mentality of the Swiss architectures Herzog & DeMeuron. The building becomes a catalyst, a container of activities and opportunities of interacting with art and environment in ways that are, from the start, not influenced by choreography.

The architects dotted all the way through the museum with reflection moments, not necessarily over the art exhibited inside, but over the building’s location in a physical, social and cultural context. The architecture becomes an agent of the exteriorization and of the possibility of reintegrating ourselves in nature. The main quality of the building is its capacity to “disappear” as object, to frame perspectives, and deliberately transmit the phenomenology of the space.

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