ARATA ISOZAKI

“The aim of the latter-day Avant garde is either to validate itself through media or alternatively, to redeem its guilt by executing the rite of creative exorcism in isolation.”
Manfredo Taffuri

The Japanese architect Arata Isozaki’s work could best be explained in terms of theoretical in-between conditions or ambivalent in nature that most of the architecture desirous to move away from. Those conditions are exemplified in terms of mannerist to austerity, explosive utopia to repressed creativity, controlled architectonics to naïve & intoxicating casualness, reactionary to cultural nostalgia.

As a part of metabolist group in sixties (along with Kenzo Tange, Kurokawa, Kikutake etc), he appeared to have reacted to the alighting modernism in the context with reactionary imagination, longing for invigorate manifestation of the east. Later he chose to minimized his connections to metabolist group which seemingly appeared to adorned the exaggerated or overly utilitarian. The decline or disassociation with frantic futurist, gave rise to ideological emptiness, which in general described as being state of “Intellectual fatigue”. Yet the in-between state continues to dominate his work especially the Museum of Fine Arts, where formal expression are austere box with layered spaces with fluid formal generosity. The architecture of the building brought in the rare freshness to the Japanese architecture. The building is perhaps not easy to decipher yet very dramatic experientially. It brings the in-betweenness of formal expanse to dense spatiality.

The other building that has demonstrated the similar formal responses in tandem with the western pre-occupation with “postmodern architecture” is building at Disney in Florida. The architecture brings about vivid scenography of an eclectic who is aspired to pushes the architectural representation to its formal limits. The MOMA building in Los Angeles revives his incomplete manifestation of formal, functional & representative which were explored in Museum of Fine Arts.  The architecture of the building also brings about the in-between conditions austere to casual, naïve contextual to eclectic (application of Red Agra Stone, dressed in Japan). The MOMA building yet remains the finest and matured work that celebrates the in-between conditions, vividly embedded from user perspective yet seemingly embryonic in representation sense.

The large question that one restlessly would raise is the relevance or importance of his architecture in contemporary architectural paradigm. The architectural discourses that are entrapped between the expressionistic attitudes to situationist envision, the Isozaki work negotiates the extremities, it resonates the collage of time and memory, and it brings about naiveness architectural representation in critical manner in other word the mannerist striving for criticality of superficial.

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