In Arc-et-Senans lies the gates to the underworld, a semicircular fragment of a parallel reality, an alchemical symbol, a tinderbox of revolution, a pastoral factory, a time crystal, or a prescient example of an artist defining an aesthetics of work.
Rut Blees Luxemburg’s new photographic work The dark intestine of Nicolas Ledoux is a sideways approach towards the French revolutionary architect’s oeuvre.
Revolving around the Saline Royale, his hybrid factory - part panopticon, part anticipated ruin - Blees Luxemburg exhibits nocturnal chimera of the imperfect Utopia.
Ledoux’s interest in the eye, the organ of visual pleasure as well as of surveillance, anticipated photography and its double-agency.
What is this?
This is the essence of architecture, revealed to the eye of a gentle donkey.
In an unlucky strike – it is all the photographer’s fault –
the eye morphs into a glaringly dead pupil reproduced on a cigarette box.
Alexander García Düttmann
Saline Dream, 2019
Panoptical Sublime, 2019
155 x 124cm
The Dark Intestine of Nicolas Ledoux, 2019
Night Guard, 2019
50.5 x 40.1 cm
During the violent upheavals of the French Revolution, the architect Nicolas Ledoux was forced to abandon the completion of his half-built city, Chaux - its celestial spheres, secluded orbs and phallic pleasure house never to be realised. Yet the Saline Royale, a hybrid factory - part panopticon, part ornamental ruin – had been built. Could Ledoux ever have anticipated that his outlandish Saline would become the blueprint for the future of work itself, albeit sans ornament?
This work is inspired by the disobedient habits of the Saline's nightguard.
The Burden of Architecture, 2021
10,5 x 16 x 2.8 cm
Flow my tears, 2019