Contemporary Cézanne’s Doubt: Towards a Discontinuous Embodiment of Architectural Composition

By Jing Xiao.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Cubism and later modern architecture indulged themselves in the simplified spatial consti- tution of Montage, and cast upon contemporary architecture a projection regardless of erotic feeling and humanity. Although spatial juxtaposition in modern architecture had been loosened by Colin Rowe’s Phenomenal Transparency, scientific and mechanical aesthetics of Bauhaus modern architec- tural critics still dominate contemporary post-structuralist amorphosis and Architectural Destructivism.
‘Flesh’ in Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological thinking of worldly embodiment lies in instant- aneous parts with non-hierarchical composition. It is evident that what Merleau-Ponty argued about the implication of ‘intertwine between world and body’ in Cézanne’s paintings has been long beyond the remembrance of Cubism. Merleau-Ponty claimed that Cézanne’s painting contained doubts in each stroke because of the infinite conditions of human sensory. Only through interrelated embodiment of architectural composition could the true poetic perception be achieved. A modern crisis of the dominative scientific Renaissance Perspective was resolved by Cézanne around one hundred years ago. Now once again, the virtual digital tectonics and computer-based morphosis technology have been doomed in the superficial Post-Structuralist “porosity” in place of the bodily perception. Stepping further into the discipline of cognitive science, the widely-accepted spatial perception will be challenged by scholars’ phenomenological sensorimotor theory which advocates that perception never happens in mind but in the interacting and discontinuous procedure between body and nature - a trigger for Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological self-referential embodiment of ‘Flesh’.

Keywords: Discontinuity, Overlapping, Self-reference, Flesh Embodiment, Sensorimotor

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.259-266. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 990.479KB).

Jing Xiao

PhD Student in Architecture, Institute of Architecture, Department of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK

Mr. Jing Xiao graduated with a degree of M. Arch from Tongji University in China and currently studies as a PhD student in Architectural Theory in the Department of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Nottingham, UK. His undergoing research focuses on the comparative study on the historical contexts and characteristics of both Western Perspective and Chinese Cavalier Perspective, and their respective latent influences on the spatial perception in the visual representation.


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