It was only when architects discovered the joys of Deconstruction did the concept finally find its way into the mainstream spotlight. Maybe because for all of its expressions, architecture provided the least subtle venue. The warping and mangling, the rectilinear-phobia, the cubist perspective: Summed up all so well in Gehry's many twisted tungsten projects.
Another classic example of the form would be Daniel Libeskind's Ontario Museum in Toronto.
These days, most architects eschew the Deconstructivist label finding it declassé. Gehry says his buildings are "a sculptural object, a spatial container, a space with light and air..." He'd rather you think of his work as extreme package design.
By the late eighties Deconstructivist architecture was in full rage. And even though its influence today is still strong, its circle of practitioners is small. It's also interesting to note that the rock star of this group, Frank Gehry, one of most successful and well known architects of our time, is also one of our most avant garde. It's as if The Beatles, once famous, created all their subequent work from the model of Revolution #9.
But long before architects and academics began kicking theories of Decon around from the plush seats of their faculty clubs, artists — painters, especially — had been experimenting with what would be the tweed-jacketed roots of Deconstruction for literally hundreds of years.
To wit: Impressionism.
And long before that, the Mannerists:
And more recently, there's fashion:
The deconstructed dress by Anotonio Berardi, above, and his heel-less boot below.
But before the buildings and Berardi (somewhere between Eisenmann's Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State in 1989, and Gehry's wrapped clapboard house in Santa Monica in Decon industrial gingerbread in the late seventies) there was Vivienne Westwood.
Westwood's creations of the mid-seventies included hand painting, screening, adding bits of fabric, tearing other parts away and often holding it all together with safety pins. She decontextualized bondage wear and gender specificity (e.g. skirts for men).
Her fashion seemed to take its cues from Dada graphics, Pop art, and combine artists like Robert Rauschenberg: Westwood (on right) and her creations.
Of course, it's the clothes (created in collaboration with Malcolm McLaren) donned by the Sex Pistols and Adam Ant she is most known for:
Post-modernism was the descriptive word most often used at time. But the process — her contextualizations and decontextualizations, the metaphors, the history lampooned, the juxtapositions, the tearing down through to layers — is quintessential Deconstruction.
For Westwood, tearing down wasn't just an issue of style. Clothes of the punk era, of which she was a vital part, contained an integral component of the DIY ethic. Punk fashion dared to tear down fashion as a commodity. (Something the fashion houses gleefully ignored as they introduced their own lines with safety pin closures.)
The Westwood shirt: Torn, pinned, with sloppily silkscreened graphics that mingle the sacred, profane, and outright offensive. And just in case the point was missed, all is surmounted with a headline. Destroy: The ultimate Deconstruction signifier.
An antique plate sandblasted by artist Cat Merrick:
And then, back to the garden: A survey of landscapes with Deconstructive tendencies.
Below, a shambolic admixture of shapes, textures, and layers: Boundaries are broken.
Here, the form of the garden playing against the decay and dissolution of the building surrounding it. The garden makes the aged building even more rustic in comparison.
While the building sleeps the forest reclaims itself: The dream of all plants, no doubt.
In the suburbs where meticulous lawns rule: The meadow. Its organic randomness defiant against the trimmed order of hedges, fescue, and bordered planters of its neighbors.
What could be more Deconstruction than a plot planted by seed?
An example of the work of Danish designer Stig L. Andersson. The primordial forest escaping into the steel and glass one. And right angles are nowhere to be found.