with 'open spaces,' xavier delory depicts sublime nature within a modernist ruin

with 'open spaces,' xavier delory depicts sublime nature within a modernist ruin

brussels-based conceptual photographer and visual artist xavier delory curates ‘open space,’ a series of new perspectives from within a decaying modernist tower. the work sees a reversal of the classic relationship between the ruin and the natural landscape, as seen in flemish landscape painting from the 17th century, where the two exist harmoniously. with the series, the artist references the ‘composed veduta’ by painters from the north which depict ruins of ancient rome surrounded by an arcadian landscape. unlike this style, xavier delory in his series of architectural photography proposes a condition where the landscape no longer welcomes the ruin, but becomes a part of the ruin.

xavier delroy open spaces
images by xavier delory



with the ‘open space’ series, xavier delory makes use of the mountainous context in reference to the aesthetics of the sublime. this concept of the ‘sublime’ repeats throughout early landscape theory to describe a natural condition that excites overwhelming emotions of astonishment, and even terror. this depiction of the landscape’s absolute greatness introduces a tone of confrontation between man and the forces of nature. sublime nature differs from that which is ‘beautiful’ as the latter is viewed from a safe distance, or from a perspective that is understood. the sublime comes with it an element of the unknown and a dimension which is seemingly infinite.

xavier delroy open spaces



while xavier delory introduces the natural context freely into this brutalist setting, ‘open space’ plays with the relationship between nature, materials, and landscapes. the artist suggests a visual continuity between the building’s derelict interior and the distant ridge line which it frames. with this strategy, the work references methods of early modernism which strive for a spatial continuity between an interior with its surroundings, putting man back at the heart of ‘creation.’

xavier delroy open spaces xavier delroy open spaces xavier delroy open spaces xavier delroy open spaces



project info:


project title: open spaces

artist: xavier delory

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