Druivenstraat

“Druivenstraat” is a collaborative series of artworks (2015) by Aschwin de Wolf (photography) and Avantika Bawa (composition). The photos were taken in the attic of the former home of the late Eva van Oosten, Aschwin’s grandmother, at Druivenstraat 1, Leiden in 2014.

Druivenstraat I - A

Druivenstraat I - B

Unintentional Beauty


“Franz said, ‘Beauty in the European sense has always had a premeditated quality to it. We’ve always had an aesthetic intention and a long-range plan. That’s what enabled Western man to spend decades building a Gothic cathedral or a Renaissance piazza. The beauty of New York rests on a completely different base. It’s unintentional. It arose independent of human design, like a stalagmitic cavern. Forms which are in themselves quite ugly turn up fortuitously, without design, in such incredible surroundings that they sparkle with a sudden wondrous poetry.’

   Sabina said, ‘Unintentional beauty. Yes. Another way of putting it might be “beauty by mistake.” Before beauty disappears entirely from the earth, it will go on existing for a while by mistake. “Beauty by mistake” – the final phase in the history of beauty.’

   And she recalled her first mature painting, which came into being because some red paint had dripped on it by mistake. Yes, her paintings were based on ‘beauty by mistake’, and New York was the secret but authentic homeland of her painting.

   Franz said, “Perhaps New York’s unintentional beauty is much richer and more varied than the excessively strict and composed beauty of human design. But it’s not our European beauty. It’s an alien world.’

   Didn’t they then at last agree on something?

   No. There is a difference. Sabina was very much attracted by the alien quality of New York’s beauty. Franz found it intriguing but frightening; it made him feel homesick for Europe.”

Milan Kundera – The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Vernacular Aesthetics

“To look through a Becher book is to take a lesson in vernacular aesthetics ; it is to learn to read differences in composition, rhythm and formal solutions where an ordinarily eye would see only indifference and standardisation; it is to derive intense pleasure from your own capacity of discrimination; it is to suffer from your inability to back it up by a technical vocabulary that would make it possible for you to detail a gasometer’s architecture as if it were a cathedral.”

Thierry de Duve, ‘Bernd et Hilla Becher ou la photographie monumentaire’ in Les Cahiers du Musée national d’art moderne, no. 39, pp. 118-29.

gasometer

LXFactory

A lot of major cities around the world are intertwined with industrial sites that historically have been an inseparable and necessary part of the economic welfare of these cities.  A lot of these industrial buildings and sites have been demolished over the years, but fortunately not everywhere and some of these sites have been preserved by artists and local residents who moved in and created their own communities.

Good examples are Dumbo, in Brooklyn, NY where almost an entire neighborhood consisting of former factories and warehouses now has been converted to artist spaces, galleries, shops and living spaces and the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam, the Netherlands where an old gas works factory is used by artists and for cultural activities.

In Lisbon there is also such a converted industrial site, which is called the LXFactory. It lies in the shadow of the 25 de Abril Bridge in Alcântara, which through the late 19th century was an industrial area with lots of small factories and warehouses, however a lot of these buildings have been demolished over the years.

LXFactory consists of several buildings which have been converted to artist spaces, offices, small stores and a nice taverna where visitors and residents can have a drink and something to eat.

LXFactory
Rua Rodrigues de Faria, 103
1300-501, Lisbon