Brutalism

BRUTMOBILE!

Wolf Vostell, Concrete Traffic, 1970. Campus Art Collection, The University of Chicago. Photo by Michael Tropea. Art © The Wolf Vostell Estate.

Wolf Vostell, Concrete Traffic, 1970. Campus Art Collection, The University of Chicago. Photo by Michael Tropea. Art © The Wolf Vostell Estate.

Wolf Vostell (1932-1998) might not be a readily-recognized name today, but - primarily from the 60’s -to- the 80’s - he was known as one of the world’s most creatively provocative artists. He often made stimulating & challenging visual statements by incorporating the products of industrial civilization - cars, motorcycles, planes, and [especially] televisions - into his work, and he’s reputedly the first artist in history to integrate a television set into a work of art.

Even if less known today, Vostell might be familiar to the generation of architects educated in the 1970’s, as he was co-author of the 1971 book Fantastic Architecture - a wonder-filled little compendium of artist-generated projects with architectonic flavor.

The simple-minded think that Brutalism is just about concrete - but we know that’s not even close to accurate. Even so, it is often-enough identified with concrete - and that’s where the intersection with Vostell comes in. The man had an intense relationship with both cars and concrete—and in a number of his works, he encased whole automobiles in the material.

One such example is his 1970 artwork, “Concrete Traffic”, now located in a garage in Chicago:  it is a 1957 Cadillac, to be precise, which is entombed in 15 cubic yards of gray loveliness!

It’s an extraordinary sight - Brutalism that looks like it’s about to speed off! - and additional views (and more) can be seen here.

A rear view of Vostell’s concrete car. Photo by Michael Tropea.

A rear view of Vostell’s concrete car. Photo by Michael Tropea.

Brutalism in Virtual Reality

Image: Moshe Linke

Moshe Linke creates beautiful art games in which you can freely explore Brutalist environments. Most of them can be downloaded here: https://moshelinke.itch.io 

Here are a couple of our favorite images from his work:

Fugue in Void

According to the developer’s description:

Explore all kind of mysterious places and dive into a world full of atmosphere. Let this experience unfold in your head.  Let it inspire you.

Brutalism - Prelude on Stone

According to the developer’s description:

Brutalism: Prelude on Stone was a rather small project for me under the theme "Forces".  It is a small installation art exhibition set in brutal environment. You can freely explore a huge brutalist building. Here and there you are going to find art installations. All the art installations deal with the elements and nature. With it comes a rich soundscape that plays perfectly together with the visuals. I wanted to depict a harsh contrast between the elements and brutalist architecture. In the future there is still erosion from water, wind and other forces.

Wonders Between Dunes

According to the developer’s description:

Travel through a wonderful mysterious world and explore huge brutal architecture. Stroll through deserts. Stroll through lush jungles. Walk deep inside the belly of concrete monsters and feel the enormous weight of the city above you. Discover wonders between dunes.

A almost dream like experience waiting for you. Relax and take a break from all those action packed games out there.

Image: Moshe Linke

Image: Moshe Linke

Brutalism, with its simple forms and dramatic environments, is a powerful experience in virtual space.

With virtual gaming getting more popular, we look forward to the day we can virtually walkthrough a Paul Rudolph designed space. Until then, we will sit back and try not to look too far over the edge of that staircase.