Ruins and Fragments - Tales of Loss and Rediscovery

Harbison, Robert

Published by Reaktion Books
ISBN 10: 1780234473 / ISBN 13: 9781780234472
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Synopsis: What is it about ruins that are so alluring, so puzzling, that they can hold some of us in endless wonder over the half-erased story they tell? In this elegant book, Robert Harbison explores the captivating hold these remains and broken pieces—from architecture, art, and literature—have on us. Why are we, he asks, so suspicious of things that are too smooth, too continuous? What makes us feel, when we look upon a fragment, that its very incompletion has a kind of meaning in itself? Is it that our experience on earth is inherently discontinuous, or that we are simply unable to believe in anything whole?
           
Harbison guides us through ruins and fragments, both ancient and modern, visual and textual, showing us how they are crucial to understanding our current mindset and how we arrived here. First looking at ancient fragments, he examines the ways we have recovered, restored, and exhibited them as artworks. Then he moves on to modernist architecture and the ways that it seeks a fragmentary form, examining modern projects that have been designed into existing ruins, such as the Castelvecchio in Verona, Italy and the reconstruction of the Neues Museum in Berlin. From there he explores literature and the works of T. S. Eliot, Montaigne, Coleridge, Joyce, and Sterne, and how they have used fragments as the foundation for creating new work. Likewise he examines the visual arts, from Schwitters’ collages to Ruskin’s drawings, as well as cinematic works from Sergei Eisenstein to Julien Temple, never shying from more deliberate creators of ruin, from Gordon Matta-Clark to countless graffiti artists.
           
From ancient to modern times and across every imaginable form of art, Harbison takes a poetic look at how ruins have offered us a way of understanding history and how they have enabled us to create the new. 

About the Author: Robert Harbison is former professor of architecture at London Metropolitan University. He is the author of many books, including Reflections on Baroque, Travels in the History of Architecture.
 

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Title: Ruins and Fragments - Tales of Loss and ...
Publisher: Reaktion Books
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Book Description Reaktion Books, United Kingdom, 2015. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. For many of us, ruins are alluring, puzzling and endlessly fascinating: this elegant book seeks to explore why. What is it that makes us suspicious of works or histories that are too smooth, too continuous? Is it that urban experience is inherently discontinuous and fragmented, or that the only truths we can believe are partial ones? Ruins and Fragments guides us through ancient and modern worlds, sharing tales of loss, recovery and rediscovery. Beginning with ancient fragments, this book recounts how later history has recuperated, restored and exhibited them, and even how ruins have been found in unlikely places - such as a Hellenistic fragment from Pergamon located in remote Nottinghamshire. It considers modernist architecture s fragmentary effects, and how concrete made some buildings look prematurely ruined. It also explores architecture that has worked with ruins, from the Castelvecchio in Verona to the reconstruction of the Neues Museum in Berlin. In literature, from T. S. Eliot to Laurence Sterne, writers revel in fragments and create anew from literary rubble.Some people deliberately construct or destroy to create ruin, Gordon Matta-Clark attacking buildings, for example, or dispossessed youth scribbling graffiti. Ultimately, destruction is balanced by attempts at reconstruction. Whether focusing on ancient or modern remnants, literature or the visual arts, Ruins and Fragments is poetic without being sentimental. Far from ruin lust , this book seeks to explore fragments without fetishizing them. In doing so it offers new ways of understanding the history of modernity, while delighting in our perception of the world as a puzzle and the ways in which we can construct new forms of meaning. Seller Inventory # AA99781780234472

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Book Description Reaktion Books, United Kingdom, 2015. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. For many of us, ruins are alluring, puzzling and endlessly fascinating: this elegant book seeks to explore why. What is it that makes us suspicious of works or histories that are too smooth, too continuous? Is it that urban experience is inherently discontinuous and fragmented, or that the only truths we can believe are partial ones? Ruins and Fragments guides us through ancient and modern worlds, sharing tales of loss, recovery and rediscovery. Beginning with ancient fragments, this book recounts how later history has recuperated, restored and exhibited them, and even how ruins have been found in unlikely places - such as a Hellenistic fragment from Pergamon located in remote Nottinghamshire. It considers modernist architecture s fragmentary effects, and how concrete made some buildings look prematurely ruined. It also explores architecture that has worked with ruins, from the Castelvecchio in Verona to the reconstruction of the Neues Museum in Berlin. In literature, from T. S. Eliot to Laurence Sterne, writers revel in fragments and create anew from literary rubble.Some people deliberately construct or destroy to create ruin, Gordon Matta-Clark attacking buildings, for example, or dispossessed youth scribbling graffiti. Ultimately, destruction is balanced by attempts at reconstruction. Whether focusing on ancient or modern remnants, literature or the visual arts, Ruins and Fragments is poetic without being sentimental. Far from ruin lust , this book seeks to explore fragments without fetishizing them. In doing so it offers new ways of understanding the history of modernity, while delighting in our perception of the world as a puzzle and the ways in which we can construct new forms of meaning. Seller Inventory # AA99781780234472

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