8. THE VEILED SCAFFOLD
Finally, the idea of Bekleidung brought Semper to the notion of veiling, to the covering of structure and the destruction of material in search of proper appearance. Harry Mallgrave writes: “Through his description of this “veiling” structural parts Semper attempted to overturn, as it were, the tectonic basis of nearly two thousand years of architectural theory. Monumental architecture, as he viewed it, is no longer the construction of an edifice, but rather the masking or veiling of constructional parts in a dramatic conundrum of artistic play.”
Returning to his theatrical inspirations, Semper wrote “I think that the dressing and the mask are as old as human civilization and that the joy in both is identical to the joy in those things that led men to be sculptors, painters, architects, poets, musicians, dramatists – in short, artists. Every artistic creation, every artistic pleasure, presumes a certain carnival spirit, or to express it in a modern way, the haze of carnival candles is the true atmosphere of art. The destruction of reality, of the material, is necessary if form is to emerge as a meaningful symbol, as an autonomous human creation.” In other words, whether in architecture, drama or music, the material of the mask must itself be masked for artistic creation to be supreme.
Previous // Next