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OED Definition
Pronunciation: /ˈro͞oin/
Noun: the physical destruction or disintegration of something or the state of disintegrating or being destroyed; the remains of a building, typically an old one, that has suffered much damage or disintegration; the disastrous disintegration of someone’s life; the cause of the disintegration of a person’s life or loss of their assets; the complete loss of one’s money and other assets
Verb 1 [with object]: reduce (a building or place) to a state of decay, collapse, or disintegration; cause great and usually irreparable damage or harm to; have a disastrous effect on; reduce to a state of poverty. 2 [no object] literary fall headlong or with a crash
Origin: Middle English (in the sense ‘collapse of a building’): from Old French ruine, from Latin ruina, from ruere ‘to fall’

“These fragments I have shored against my ruins” T.S.Eliot – The Waste Land, Part V: What the Thunder Said (1922)

Gustav Metzger: Manifesto Auto-Destructive Art (1960)
Man In Regent Street is auto-destructive.
Rockets, nuclear weapons, are auto-destructive.
Auto-destructive art.
The drop drop dropping of HH bombs.
Not interested in ruins, (the picturesque)
Auto-destructive art re-enacts the obsession with destruction, the pummeling to which individuals and masses are subjected.
Auto-destructive art demonstrates man’s power to accelerate disintegrative processes of nature and to order them.
Auto-destructive art mirrors the compulsive perfectionism of arms manufacture – polishing to destruction point.
Auto-destructive art is the transformation of technology into public art. The immense productive capacity, the chaos of capitalism and of Soviet communism, the co-existence of surplus and starvation; the increasing stock-piling of nuclear weapons – more than enough to destroy technological societies; the disintegrative effect of machinery and of life in vast built-up areas on the person,…
Auto-destructive art is art which contains within itself an agent which automatically leads to its destruction within a period of time not to exceed twenty years. Other forms of auto-destructive art involve manual manipulation. There are forms of auto-destructive art where the artist has a tight control over the nature and timing of the disintegrative process, and there are other forms where the artist’s control is slight.
Materials and techniques used in creating auto-destructive art include: Acid, Adhesives, Ballistics, Canvas, Clay, Combustion, Compression, Concrete, Corrosion, Cybernetics, Drop, Elasticity, Electricity, Electrolysis, Feed-Back, Glass, Heat, Human Energy, Ice, Jet, Light, Load, Mass-production, Metal, Motion Picture, Natural Forces, Nuclear Energy, Paint, Paper, Photography, Plaster, Plastics, Pressure, Radiation, Sand, Solar Energy, Sound, Steam, Stress, Terra-cotta, Vibration, Water, Welding, Wire, Wood.

“A ruin exists in a state of continual transition caused by natural deterioration, specific catastrophe or other circumstances.  […] The image of the ruin is always ambivalent and open to manifold interpretations. […] Functional values which the ruin might have possessed originally are of even less value in its aesthetic interpretation. […] Devastated by time or by wilful destruction, incomplete as they re, ruins represent a combination of created, man-made forms and organic nature.” Paul Zucker – Fascination of Decay (1968)

“I’m not certain that my art has anything to do with the “unmonumental.” Ruins, natural disasters, road works, building sites, theme parks, and war zones are both monumental and antimonumental. […] My large-scale works are intended to capture an uncertain identity that places itself between monumentality and antimonumentality. The perilous stance of the pieces, their rough assemblage, everyday materials, absurd size––all of these qualities interest me as contentions both in sculptural terms and also as a confrontation of monumentality, and what that might be.” – Phyllida Barlow, Artforum 10/03/11

“The reason for this project comes from my childhood, that is clear to me. I did not have any toys. So, I played in the bricks of ruined buildings around me and with which I built houses.” – Anselm Kiefer

“Did you stop because it was good enough, or could have done more – but then maybe ruined it too? Sometimes you finish because you’ve gone too far.” – Bruce Nauman

“I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want.” – Andy Warhol

Robert Rauschenberg – Erased de Kooning (1953)

Lara Almarcegui – Guide to ruined Buildings in the Netherlands XIX-XXI Century (2008)

Phyllida Barlow – Untitled: Disaster III (2010) mixed media

Jiang Pengyi – Unregistered City, No. 1 (2008-2010) archival inkjet print

Cyprien Gaillard – Cenotaph to 12 Riverford Road, Pollokshaws, Glasgow (2008) recycled concrete from a demolished Glasgow tower block

Gustav Metzger – Acid Action Painting (2006). Nylon, hydrochloric acid, metal, 213.4 x 381 x 182.9cm. 3 nylon canvases coloured white black red are arranged behind each other, in this order. Acid is painted, flung and sprayed onto the nylon which corrodes at point of contact within 15 seconds.

Jean Tinguely - Homage to New York (1960)

Jean Tinguely – Homage to New York (1960)

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