“To destroy the self, to destroy yours, mine: I often speak of capital destruction. That’s it. That’s the sort of destruction” — Marguerite Duras referring to Destroy, She Said (1969)

Erected by men in order to shelter them from the cold, the outside world or from the gaze, walls create boundaries, separate and partition people and spaces. Sometimes ostentatious, they also embody the play and the stakes of power and memory. Walls are a metaphor for the hidden, the “unsaid”. . . Far from being neutral, they are bearers of social, political, ideological and sexual symbolism.

Physical or mental boundaries, walls present the question of the border and thus of transgression, since what should one do with “these boundaries, if not to abolish them or at least debate them, deconstruct them, displace them, transgress them, or pervert them?”1 Questioning architecture and space, challenging established principles, “bringing down the walls of practices and genres, expanding the limits of art, deconstructing and dematerializing (. . .), these practices are present throughout the field of contemporary creation.”

A number of artists have initiated reflection on the way in which monumentality continues to haunt the practice of art and architecture. Their work derails the long tradition of marking territories and minds.

1 Doina Pretrescu, in the catalog Monica Bonvicini, Le Magasin, 2001.

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