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
    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: 0182525
  • 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: 0182526
  • 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: 0182527
  • 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: 0182528
  • Image of Sectoren New Babylon
    Image of Sectoren New Babylon

    Sectoren New Babylon

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1956-1974
    hoogte 9,0 cm breedte 10,5 cm
    ets, inkt op papier
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0015294
  • 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: 0182529
  • 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: 0182530
  • 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: 0182531
  • 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: 0182532
  • 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: 0182533
  • Image of Zonder titel (New Babylon)
    Image of Zonder titel (New Babylon)

    Zonder titel (New Babylon)

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1956-1974
    hoogte 56,0 cm breedte 38,2 cm
    ets, inkt op papier
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0015302
  • Image of New Babylon - Den Haag
    Image of New Babylon - Den Haag

    New Babylon - Den Haag

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1964
    hoogte 220 cm breedte 279,9 cm
    waterverf op papier op spaanplaat
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0182558
  • Image of Groep sectoren
    Image of Groep sectoren

    Groep sectoren

    Constant [1920-2005]

    Amsterdam
    1959
    hoogte 4,5 cm breedte 100 cm diepte 100 cm
    metaal (ijzer, koper), inkt op plexiglas en olieverf op hout
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0330965
  • Image of Klein Labyr
    Image of Klein Labyr

    Klein Labyr

    Constant [1920-2005]

    Amsterdam
    1959
    hoogte 70 cm breedte 35 cm diepte 56 cm
    metaal (aluminium, ijzer), plexiglas, hout, olieverf en krijt
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0330974
  • Image of Symbolische voorstelling van New Babylon
    Image of Symbolische voorstelling van New Babylon

    Symbolische voorstelling van New Babylon

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1969
    hoogte 127,4 cm breedte 140,2 cm
    tekening in collage
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0182564
  • Image of Vergelijkende plattegrond New Babylon - Amsterdam Ookmeer
    Image of Vergelijkende plattegrond New Babylon - Amsterdam Ookmeer

    Vergelijkende plattegrond New Babylon - Amsterdam Ookmeer

    Constant [1920-2005]

    1962
    hoogte 105,5 cm breedte 113,3 cm
    potlood, krijt en inkt op papier
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: 0182559

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