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Thursday 12 March

Parallel of Life and Art

The classic typewriter dismantled to reveal a classification of the parts of language relating to shape and the parts of the typewriters' internal functions.
' Parallel of Life and Art' , Photo: Architectural Review 1953

Irénée Scalbert
Sources of the Formless Part II

New brutalism was the movement invented in the 1950s by Alison and Peter Smithson and Reyner Banham. In this follow-up to last week's lecture, Irénée Scalbert will argue that new brutalism has been fundamentally misinterpreted: its modernist facade appeared to promote honesty and robustness in construction, but its substance belonged to the world of the formless. 'Parallel of Life and Art', an exhibition held at the ICA in October 1953, was organized by two artists, Eduardo Paolozzi and Nigel Henderson, together with the Smithsons and it marked the beginning of the movement. Whilst studying its sources, Irénée Scalbert has made direct connections with the intellectual Parisian élite of the late 1940s, with Michel Tapié and his idea of the informel, with Jean Dubuffet's conception of matter and with the Dadaist Tristan Tzara. He draws a parallel between these and the organizers of the exhibition - a common aim to bring down the classical edifice built upon the concepts of form, language and beauty.

Irénée Scalbert has taught at the AA since 1989 and is currently First Year General Studies Co-ordinator.