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Architecture: Art


By Philip Jodidio. Prestel, 2005. 224pp. £35

This glossy but ultimately dismal offering from Prestel claims to address the changing nature of the relationship between art and architecture.

It employs the familiar format of a general survey. A short essay by Philip Jodidio attempts a theoretical and historical justi'cation, and this is followed by a much larger, image-heavy section on individual contemporary works, with an accompanying 'critique'.

From the Alhambra to Edward Hopper's paintings of urban America, from the Taj Mahal to Gordon MattaClark's building cuts, Jodidio ploughs through a vast swathe of global, cultural production.

Largely ignoring societal or political factors, he proposes a unifying notion of spatial perception based on a quote from the phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty, which he repeats intermittently - a brief excursion into philosophy which serves only to mystify the selection process further.

The most unappealing aspect of the book, however, lies in its character as a product of contemporary publishing.

The format of the book speaks unashamedly about the market; its presence in bookshops or on the internet as a word search destination; and copyright deals with picture libraries.

It ultimately produces not new insights into the relationship between art and architecture but a false general consensus between the works. Its eclectic mix of buildings and art works in fact promotes only the loss of difference, diversity and significance.

Robin Wilson writes on architecture and art

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