Director: Cooperative Société Réaliste
Société Réaliste is a Parisian cooperative created by Ferenc Gróf (in 1972 in Pecs, Hungary) and Jean-Baptiste Naudy(in 1982 in Paris, France) in June 2004. Artists work mainly with political design, experimental economy, territorial ergonomy and social engineering consulting.
Selected personal exhibitions:
2011 — Empire, State, Building — Jeu de Paume, Paris
2009 — Transitioners: London View — Uqbar, Berlin
2007 — Transitioners — Kunstpavillon — Tiroler Konstlerschaft, Innsbruck
Selected group exhibitions:
2009 — 10e Biennale de Lyon — The Spectacle of the Everyday — La Biennale de León, León
2009 — 11th International stanbul Biennial — International Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul
2006 — The Other City — Trafo House of Contemporary Art, Budapest
Courtesy of Artists
In 1949 “The Fountainhead” movie hit the widescreen. It was based on Ayn Rand’s novel telling a story of a complicated life of an architect-individ- ualist who tries to confront a mediocre and mostly bad taste of other people all by himself. The main character just like some Greek mythology hero relies upon ideas of aggressive defense of his opinion by proclaiming individualism as a major success of human history. Literary works of Rand who is also known as objectivist philosophy founder, proclaim main capitalism achievements, such as private property, market relations and perverted idea of democracy, in a comprehensible way for a wide audience. Like the Cold War ideologists the writer was against any leftist ideas, at the same time making rather superficial remarks about different forms of solidarity being not a voluntary union of people for reaching various goals, but just a herd instinct working under the influence of talented manipulators.
A background for an ordinary narration in this Rand’s bestseller screen version (the movie does not have an inspiring director’s work and looks more like a propaganda performance) is New York neoclassic and eclectic architecture. The dispute is centered around protagonist’s projects that are typical modernist creations, but an etymological connection between modernist and revolutionary projects stays behind the curtain. In the end the audience as usual is presented with a happy end, where willpower conquers archaic collective body; in the final scene the protagonist appears on the top of his skyscraper glowing of an absolute champion.
Obviously such works full of uncertain statements are the best field for critical research. By taking “The Fountainhead” as their base, French- Hungarian duo Société Réaliste (Ferenc Gróf and Jean-Baptiste Naudy) famous for their research in contemporary politics and economy by using special representation strategies, created a statement, where they revealed an obvious connection between architecture and capitalistic governing. The artists edited the original movie, deleted all the characters, leaving only expressive architectural images which they thought to be more con- ceptual than the whole plot, not mentioning the direction. Subversive gesture based on deconstruction of cinematic narration allows us to look at architecture “in action”, that lives in a close existential connection with a person and creates one political and social living space. Forced withdrawal of a person from architectural context that here plays a part of living space, brings a question of another status of architecture outside of its usual realm. Architecture being outside of human needs service sphere, or utilitarity, is transformed into something hard to define.
Architectural context in this experiment reveals its own unique nature. It turns out that the context created by architectural objects may be used not just for visual expression of some political ideology, but it can rather easily change its own political dimension, keeping its formal integrity. In that respect architecture as power instrument works in close interaction with language and speech; outlined against monumental architectural context any speech act is more expressive and comprehensive without criticism. The movie of Société Réaliste is a solid and detailed report on the process, where modernism was easily transferred from revolutionary declarations to aesthetic representation of bourgeois lifestyle. Capitalism flexibility and versatility are emphasized by its internal ability of any artistic product expropriation no matter what political color it had initially. Language 33 of architecture has a great potential for expressing different senses without changing basic constructions, only by modifying the tone. Modernism collapse as well as its revolutionary aspirations is due to its anti-stylistic nature, since originally it was created as art history final chapter, but in the end it turned to be a background for any political speculations.