New Babylon

Constant Nieuwenhuys (1920-2005) was a member of the Dutch branch of the world-famous COBRA movement, which also included Karel Appel and Corneille. In 1956, however, his work took a completely different direction. Abandoning painting, he threw himself into a vast architectural and town planning project called New Babylon, expressing his ideas for a progressive, modern society via maquettes, drawings, films, graphics and manifestos. Thanks to acquisitions in the 1970s and major donations by the artist, the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag now possesses the greatest collection of New Babylon-related works anywhere in the world.


Utopia

The 1950s were a time of major social change. Automated manufacturing processes were being introduced and the standard of living was rising. The growth in road and air transport was making it easier for people to travel ever further and faster. Moreover, a new balance between work and leisure was offering people greater scope for personal development. Constant felt that these developments called for a new way of organizing the physical environment.

 

New Babylon

His utopian New Babylon project proposes an ideal worldwide city of the future in which rapid change is a key assumption and life is to be lived ‘vertically’. Designed to be flexible, its buildings will form a network of structures supported on pillars and extending all over Europe. The fabric of the city is to be divided into various multi-storey sectors, within which residents will move around on foot or take lifts between the different floors. Climate, light and air are all artificially controlled. Cars, buses and freight vehicles pass underneath the buildings and the roof provides space for pedestrian areas, landscaped walkways and airport runways.  

Homo Ludens

Constant’s designs for New Babylon are based on the idea of an alternative, fully automated society in which human labour has become unnecessary. This means that people are free to devote themselves entirely to the development of creative ideas. Residents of New Babylon will be a new race of ‘Homo Ludens’ (man at play) with unlimited freedom to decide the ever-changing appearance of their own surroundings. Because of this endless scope for creativity in daily life, there is no longer any need for art as such. The distinct artistic disciplines of the past – painting and sculpture, dance and theatre – will be absorbed into the playful creativity of everyday life.

Objecten

[72 stukken]
  • Image of Sectoren in berglandschap
    Image of Sectoren in berglandschap

    Sectoren in berglandschap

    Constant [1920-2005]

    Amsterdam
    1967
    hoogte 7 cm breedte 63,5 cm diepte 86,3 cm
    plexiglas en olieverf op hout
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0330980
  • Image of Gele sector
    Image of Gele sector

    Gele sector

    Constant [1920-2005]

    Amsterdam
    1958
    hoogte 21 cm breedte 82,5 cm diepte 77,5 cm
    metaal (ijzer, aluminium, koper), inkt op plexiglas en olieverf op hout
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0330746
  • Image of Spatiovore
    Image of Spatiovore

    Spatiovore

    Constant [1920-2005]

    Amsterdam
    1960
    hoogte 64 cm breedte 105 cm diepte 155 cm
    metaal, inkt op plexiglas en verf op hout
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0330946
  • Image of 10918x1y141797
    Image of 10918x1y141797

    Litho no. 5 uit de map New Babylon

    Lithografie door Constant [1920-2005], tekst door Simon Vinkenoog [1928-2009]

    voorjaar 1963
    hoogte 40 cm breedte 38 cm
    lithografie, inkt op papier
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 1025330
  • Image of 10918x1y141798
    Image of 10918x1y141798

    Litho no. 6 uit de map New Babylon

    Constant [1920-2005]

    voorjaar 1963
    hoogte 40 cm breedte 38 cm
    lithografie, inkt op papier
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 1025331
  • Image of 10918x1y141799
    Image of 10918x1y141799

    Litho no. 7 uit de map New Babylon

    Constant [1920-2005]

    voorjaar 1963
    hoogte 40 cm breedte 38 cm
    lithografie, inkt op papier
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 1025332
  • Image of 10918x1y141800
    Image of 10918x1y141800

    Litho no. 8 uit de map New Babylon

    Constant [1920-2005]

    voorjaar 1963
    lithografie, inkt op papier
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 1025333
  • Image of 10918x1y141801
    Image of 10918x1y141801

    Litho no. 9 uit de map New Babylon

    Constant [1920-2005]

    voorjaar 1963
    hoogte 40 cm breedte 38 cm
    lithografie, inkt op papier
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 1025334
  • Image of 10918x1y141808
    Image of 10918x1y141808

    Litho no. 1 uit de map New Babylon

    Constant [1920-2005]

    voorjaar 1963
    hoogte 40 cm breedte 38 cm
    lithografie, inkt op papier
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 1025335
  • Image of 10918x1y141794
    Image of 10918x1y141794

    Litho no. 2 uit de map New Babylon

    Constant [1920-2005]

    voorjaar 1963
    hoogte 40 cm breedte 38 cm
    lithografie, inkt op papier
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 1025327
  • Image of 10918x1y141795
    Image of 10918x1y141795

    Litho no. 3 uit de map New Babylon

    Lithografie door Constant [1920-2005], tekst door Simon Vinkenoog [1928-2009]

    voorjaar 1963
    hoogte 40 cm breedte 38 cm
    lithografie, inkt op papier
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 1025328
  • Image of 10918x1y141796
    Image of 10918x1y141796

    Litho nr. 4 uit de map New Babylon

    Lithografie door Constant [1920-2005], tekst door Simon Vinkenoog [1928-2009]

    voorjaar 1963
    hoogte 40 cm breedte 38 cm
    lithografie, inkt op papier
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 1025329
  • Image of Plattegrond van de oriënt sector
    Image of Plattegrond van de oriënt sector

    Plattegrond van de oriënt sector

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1959
    hoogte 40,0 cm breedte 51,0 cm
    Oostindische inkt op papier
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0122459
  • Image of New Babylon - Köln
    Image of New Babylon - Köln

    New Babylon - Köln

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1963
    hoogte 50 cm breedte 60,9 cm
    inkt op stadsplattegrond
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0122453
  • Image of Groep sectoren New Babylon
    Image of Groep sectoren New Babylon

    Groep sectoren New Babylon

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1970
    hoogte 126,4 cm breedte 138,6 cm
    collage van potlood, folie en inkt op papier
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0320208
  • Image of New Babylon - München
    Image of New Babylon - München

    New Babylon - München

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1 juli 1963
    hoogte 48,0 cm breedte 58,0 cm
    inkt op stadsplattegrond
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0122461

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