How to Think Constructivism? Ruskin, Spuybroek and Deleuze on Gothic Architecture

Piotrek Swiatkowski


In the Gothic architecture Lars Spuybroek discovers a vitalist ontology that allows him to rethink the nature of constructivism. The vitalist beauty emerges out of a particular field of material forces and is not an actualisation of a pre-given model. His analysis leads to a critique of the work of Deleuze and Guattari, who are portrayed as philosophers of the sublime. Their resistance to the signifying semiotics leads them too far. They unjustly claim that the Gothic structures emerge due to an affirmation of chaos and not in a careful process of construction. In my paper, I will nevertheless demonstrate that Spuybroek’s critique misses a fundamental point of their analysis. Only phantasms or spiritual becomings - concepts lacking in the analysis of Spuybroek - can allow for a proper appreciation of the Gothic and of the process of construction.

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