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Alain Bublex, Plug-In City (阿倫.布畢雷:移動居所)
Gerard HENRY
at 4:13pm on 13th April 2012

Alain Bublex. Plug in City.

(原文以法文撰寫,中文翻譯請往下看。This article was originally written in French and is a review of Alain Bublex's works. Please scroll down to read the Chinese translation.)

Born in Lyon in 1961, Alain Bublex first studied at the School of Fine Arts in Mâcon, and then at the School of Industrial Design, Paris Alain Bublex bases his work on fiction, expressing his creativity through a wide range of projects. With a constant and curious eye open to his environment, people and cities, he is attracted to the eternal traveller in perpetual transit, not knowing where his steps will lead him or where he'll end up, hence his desire to create works connected with relocation and wandering, such as the Ryder project (2000) where he took ten days to cross the States with three Ryder removal trucks.

Human cabins fascinate him, and like a hermit crab, he never stops changing his shell. This led the artist to work on town planning projects. For his first project in 1992, Alain Bublex imagined the virtual city of Glooscap, based on the plans of a typical North-American city: he drew the plans and landscape, picturing how the town might be planned, its history, geography, etc, creating a fictitious reality.

Afterwards, he took the architect Corbusier's work le Plan Voisin de Paris, which reversed town-centre and suburbs. Courbusier wanted to remove the central arrrondisement—while preserving the monuments and heritate sites—and build a gigantic business district: four large towers—each able to accommodate one hundred thousand workers—circled by motorways. The idea, as much fascinating as impossible, attracted the attention of Bublex who designed a seductive impression of what this might have looked like in our time.

According to Luc Baboulet, a critique at Une Semaine “Bublex's work starts with travel. Travel and vision are closely linked by the combination of two equally integral artist's tools: the car and the camera. Only the car, says Bublex, gives you this face-to-face relationship with the landscape, which is what makes it stand out from planes or trains. It is this strange prosthesis that gives Bublex the mental resources with which to work (‘It seems to me that we drive cars not just to get from A to B, but to think’) as well as the physical space necessary. This, for example, is what gave birth to Glooscap, this imaginary city, created through a collage of real images and personal invention.”

For Bublex, the construction site is also an urban symbol which always draws his attention. “A landscape in a present state”, it corresponds to a transitory situation which is no longer and not yet. In his way, Bublex regularly creates small building sites by piling up “small moments of the present” made out of breeze blocks, shaped like heaps of sand.

Plug-in City (2000) is one of Bublex’s great works which was inspired by Peter Cook, a member of the experimental group Archigram. In his project, Archigram 1964, Cook had designed a city made up of standardised cells connected to each other. In 2000, Bublex continued this work, but with building site cabins (like those manufactured by Algeco or Portakabin) which replaced Peter Cook cells. Used to respond to domestic needs (to extend apartments, for example) they start to attack buildings, proliferating facades, monuments and other structures in an anarchistic fashion.

For Bublex, this type of construction—close to that of algeco cabins—deserves to be reconsidered. From 2000, he began working on construction projects in the Port of Flanders (La Villette, Paris), Zurich city centre, Potsdamer Platz (Berlin) and others. Transported by helicopters, the cabins surround existing infrastructure (viaducts etc.) forming a second skin. For a limited edition of Beaux Arts magazine (2003), reserved for a thousand readers, Bublex pictured a link—based on portakabins—between two emblematic Parisian monuments: the Eiffel Tower and the Centre Pompidou (which were both received negatively at the time of their construction).

Plug in City is a fascinating project, a fiction anchored in reality. But it's also a city undergoing complete transformation and the purpose of the photographic work is to document these transformations. They're fleeting states captured by photography. Bublex is, in fact, as much an architect, researcher, inventor, mechanic, carpenter and director than photographer and through his process of creation, the text, the design and the installation are all equally important.

But you can't stop yourself, when you look at these imaginary cities, from thinking of a large child playing with Lego, and this is what we enjoy in his work, a certain nostalgia for our childhood, as well as the feeling that everything is possible, that reality can yield to every fantasy we may conjure up in our imagination.

He is also a poet, perhaps without realising it, as he goes to get the famous Mount Fuji, transporting it to his landscapes, marrying it with the Eiffel Tower and making it stand out on the horizon, as a backdrop to the Eiffel Tower, framing this partnership like two icons of perfection, one natural, the other human.

阿倫.布畢雷 (Alain Bublex)1961年生於里昂,在加入雷諾汽車擔任工業設計師之前,曾先後就讀馬孔美術學院及巴黎工業設計學院。基於對藝術經歷的進一步追求,他於是在1992年立志成為一名藝術家。阿倫的作品充滿想像力,善於透過一系列不同的作品表達自己的創作意念。

在1992年的第一個項目中,他在典型北美城市規劃的基礎上,萌生了Glooscap 虛擬城市的構想:遂描繪出規劃圖和地貌,想像城鎮應該如何規劃,歷史文化和地理環境等等,創造出一個虛構的現實世界。

此後,他亦受到建築師勒.柯布西耶 (Le Corbusier) 變換市中心和郊區之作《巴黎郊區規劃》的啓發。勒.柯布西希望可以移除市中心的同時保留紀念碑和歷史遺跡,並建造一個巨型的商業區:高速公路環線內,矗立著四幢分別可容納十萬員工的摩天大樓。這個天馬行空的意念,引起了布畢雷的注意並觸動了他的設計靈感,設計出屬於這個時代和充滿魅力的城市風貌《移動居所》(2000年) 是布畢雷的揚威之作,創作靈感源自試驗團體「建築電訊派」的一員Peter Cook。

Cook名為《建築電訊派1964》的作品設計了一座由相互連接的標準化小屋組成的城市。布畢雷於2000年繼續致力於這一項目的創作,但使用建築工地式小屋 (諸如 Algeco 或活動房屋的產品) 取代Cook 的小屋。一如既往地響應國內需求 (例如,加長公寓),他們開始用無政府主義的方式攻擊建築物,擴散外立面、紀念性建築物和其他建築。

布畢雷認為這類型的建築 (類似於algeco小屋) 值得重新思考。自2000年起,他開始致力於弗蘭德斯港(位於巴黎維萊特)、蘇黎世市中心、波茨坦廣場 (柏林) 等地的建築項目。這些小屋由直升機來運輸,向外牆一樣包圍了已有的基礎設施 (高架橋等)。




Exhibition:  Playgrounds - Contemporary French Photography
Date: 6.4. – 2.5.2012
Venue: Avenue of Stars, Tsimshatsui

A version of this article appeared in Paroles, No. 232, April 2012.



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