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 New Babylon - Barcelona
    Image of New Babylon - Barcelona

    New Babylon - Barcelona

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1963
    hoogte 47 cm breedte 63 cm
    inkt op stadsplattegrond
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0557420
  • Image of Theorie collage New Babylon no.1
    Image of Theorie collage New Babylon no.1

    Theorie collage New Babylon no.1

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1974
    hoogte 49,5 cm breedte 59,5 cm
    collage en Oostindische inkt, potlood, waterverf en krijt op papier op aluminium
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0811812
  • Image of Theorie collage New Babylon no.2
    Image of Theorie collage New Babylon no.2

    Theorie collage New Babylon no.2

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1974
    hoogte 49,5 cm breedte 59,5 cm
    collage en Oostinidsche inkt en waterverf op papier op aluminium
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0811813
  • Image of Theorie collage New Babylon no.3
    Image of Theorie collage New Babylon no.3

    Theorie collage New Babylon no.3

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1974
    hoogte 49,5 cm breedte 59,5 cm
    collage en Oostinidsche inkt en waterverf op papier op aluminium
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0811814
  • Image of Theorie collage New Babylon no.4
    Image of Theorie collage New Babylon no.4

    Theorie collage New Babylon no.4

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1974
    hoogte 49,5 cm breedte 59,5 cm
    collage en Oostinidsche inkt, waterverf en krijt op papier op aluminium
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0811815
  • Image of Theorie collage New Babylon no.5
    Image of Theorie collage New Babylon no.5

    Theorie collage New Babylon no.5

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1974
    hoogte 49,5 cm breedte 59,5 cm
    collage en Oostindische inkt en waterverf op papier op aluminium
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0811816
  • Image of Theorie collage New Babylon no.6
    Image of Theorie collage New Babylon no.6

    Theorie collage New Babylon no.6

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1974
    hoogte 49,5 cm breedte 59,5 cm
    collage en Oostindindische inkt, waterverf en karton op papier op aluminium
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0811817
  • Image of Theorie collage New Babylon no.7
    Image of Theorie collage New Babylon no.7

    Theorie collage New Babylon no.7

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1974
    hoogte 49,5 cm breedte 59,5 cm
    collage en Oostindische inkt en waterverf op papier op aluminium
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0811818
  • Image of Theorie collage New Babylon no.8
    Image of Theorie collage New Babylon no.8

    Theorie collage New Babylon no.8

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1974
    hoogte 49,5 cm breedte 59,5 cm
    collage en Oostindische inkt en waterverf op papier op aluminium
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0811819
  • Image of 10918x1y44462
    Image of 10918x1y44462

    Titelblad voor Theorie collages New Babylon

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1974
    hoogte 50,0 cm breedte 60,5 cm
    Oostindische inkt op papier
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0811820
  • Image of Groeten uit Nieuw Babylon
    Image of Groeten uit Nieuw Babylon

    Groeten uit Nieuw Babylon

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1956-1974
    hoogte 52,0 cm breedte 68,0 cm
    lithografie, inkt op papier
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0182520
  • Image of 10918x1y78991
    Image of 10918x1y78991

    Litho no. 10 uit de map New Babylon

    Constant [1920-2005]

    voorjaar 1963
    hoogte 40,0 cm breedte 38,0 cm
    lithografie, inkt op papier
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0182521
  • Image of 10918x1y80828
    Image of 10918x1y80828

    New Babylon op historische kaart van Middlesex

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1967
    hoogte 85,2 cm breedte 103,5 cm
    waterverf op foto
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0182563
  • Image of New Babylon
    Image of New Babylon

    New Babylon

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1956-1974
    hoogte 60,5 cm breedte 49,0 cm
    ets, inkt op papier
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0182522
  • Image of New Babylon
    Image of New Babylon

    New Babylon

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1956-1974
    hoogte 60,5 cm breedte 49,0 cm
    ets, inkt op papier
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0182523
  • Image of New Babylon
    Image of New Babylon

    New Babylon

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1956-1974
    hoogte 60,5 cm breedte 49,0 cm
    ets, inkt op papier
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0182524

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