Pieter Bruegel's oil painting "The Great Tower of Babel" (1563) is probably the most famous illustration of the architect's original sin: the intention to build a tower that touches the clouds competing in this way with God’s creation. The observer in the Museum of Fine Arts in Vienna, today, witnesses the consequence of the confusion of tongues that manifests itself as the tower’s eternal ruin.
The relationship between architecture and painting is a reciprocal one and it begins long before the great books, architects and artists:
The project of the "Caverne du Pont d'Arc" is able to bring together the diversity of themes that ADATO addresses in this issue: The construction of the cave began in October 2012. Within three years, a replica of the Chauvet Pont d'Arc cave was created according to the plans of Xavier Fabre architects on a surface area of 3500 m² and with a budget of around 55 million euros. The original, created millions of years ago by the underground course of the Ardèche River through the Karst and towards the Cirque d'Estre, was discovered in 1994 and immediately closed to visitors. For his documentary "The Cave of Forgotten Dreams" (2010), the director Werner Herzog was allowed to capture a few gazes before archaeologists and scientists took over and began the mapping process.
The cave was scanned together with its contents and the original structure was digitally reconstructed from the generated point cloud. Based on this model, the replica was created as a steel skeleton coated with a synthetic resin. The final skin was painted in naked rock optic and staged under the warm lights of exhibition spotlights. At this point, some scenography had already been added to the art of engineering. Also, the actual description of "replica" is wrong, as the Caverne du Pont d'Arc is not a reconstruction of the cave: rather a series of highlights collaged along a path of experience and presented as a self-contained circuit. The highlights of this entertainment park, realized by architects, engineers and workers, are finally created by artists, such as the painter Gilles Tosello, who painted two cave sections in his workshop in Toulouse.
This story,as an introduction to Architecture+Painting, is raising the questions of the relationship between the fine arts and the art of sheltering the human being, of original and copy and by these means authorship. On the following pages you will encounter painting architects, builders who understand their work in the tradition of the fine arts. We have met some great people who'll offer you insight into their working environments and creative worlds. There will be paintings created in space and drawn on buildings as built life philosophies. To close the circle, ADATO will dive into the history of painted space, showing masters of illusion who shifted the boundaries of the surface into the third dimension.
ADATO wishes you new perspectives and a good read
at the Mediterranean or in the office.