Published by NAi010 Publishers. Text by Ludo van Halem, Trudy Nieuwenhuijs-van der Horst, Laura Stamps.
Constant Nieuwenhuys (1920–2005), known as Constant, was a founding member of the Cobra group and the Situationist International, and the artist behind the utopian architectural New Babylon project. This publication examines his practice in the 1950s and his transition from Cobra to New Babylon. In this decade, the fantasy figures of Constant’s Cobra period were followed by abstract painting, a transition from the two-dimensional to the three-dimensional plane with the architectural models and sketches made for the New Babylon project, and ultimately a return to painting with the color experiments that he pursued from 1969 until his death in 2005. Constant: Space + Colour gathers rarely seen works alongside a short selection of texts written between 1949 and 1965, which provide a glimpse into the radical transformations of these years.
Published by Hatje Cantz. Text by Constant, Trudy Nieuwenhuys, Laura Stamps, Willemijn Stokvis, Mark Wigley. Interviews by Rem Koolhaas.
Constant's Situationist utopia reimagined everyday life as an urban adventure
An open city without borders that is capable of flowing out in all directions to allow its residents to move freely and flexibly: this fascinating utopian conception of architectural and lifeworld growth formed the starting point for Constant’s Situationist project New Babylon. Between 1956 and 1974, the Dutch painter and cofounder of the avant-garde movements Cobra and the Situationist International worked on numerous models, paintings, drawings and collages for the purpose of depicting his vision of the nomadic city of the future.
This catalogue focuses not only on New Babylon’s architectural aspects but embraces them as an artist’s synthesis of the arts. Besides the models, drawings and collages, attention is also given to the designs in order to trace Constant’s artistic process. This not only provides extensive insight into utopian urban planning, but to a greater degree into a mode of thought and imagination. The book includes an interview with Rem Koolhaas on Constant’s pioneering project.
Constant Nieuwenhuys (1920–2005) was a Dutch painter, architect, sculptor, graphic artist, author and musician. His friendship with Danish painter Asger Jorn led to the founding of the Cobra group. After its dissolution, Constant became a founding member of the Situationist International movement along with Jorn and Guy Debord, and began work on his New Babylon project.