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Paul de Guzman: text & publications

Paul de Guzman inserts himself into the canonical works of contemporary design and criticism by cutting sections from architecture books and anthologies which have become authorities on meaning and interpretation. While many a theory in the books appropriated and altered by de Guzman may in fact be disputable, the artist does not seem to be enacting his apparently irreverent attack on the books' published content. As much as one might expect the book-object's design to be linked to ideas professed within its once legible pages, it seems that a work's design is subject to the artist's whim and has little to do with the source material's subject. A release from the impulse to interpret visual artistic practice through the automatic appeal to a few books of philosophy or architecture, Study for Wenn Berlin Biarritz wäre... and Proposed Double Layout for T. F. seem a declaration of de Guzman's right to be an artist and not merely an interpreter of theories in books.
The dichotomy inherent in Paul de Guzman's oeuvre is more complex than any literal translation of dissection into a meaningful gesture.

Paul de Guzman was born in 1965 in Manila, The Philippines, where he studied Engineering. He immigrated to Canada in 1986 and currently lives and works in Vancouver, Canada. He’s been exhibiting his work since 1997.

Download here a small publication about Paul de Guzman


Paul de Guzman is geboren in Manila maar woont en werkt in Vancouver.

Hij is geboeid door de relatie tussen architectuur en taal: als een chirurg snijdt hij een constructivistische architectuur uit in kunstboeken. De uitsnijdingen worden bepaald door de tekst en lay-out op elke pagina afzonderlijk. De boeken worden nadien in plexi gevat maar zijn nog consulteerbaar.

Transit publiceerde een mini kataloog, die gratis verkrijgbaar is in de galerie.

Een pdf-versie kan u hier downloaden


Paul de Guzman

'Proposed Layout for M.B.', 30 x 25 x 4 cm, 2003, gewijzigde monografie, acrylbox, private collection


Situate This !!

Situate This !! is a text-based architectural project that investigates the dependence of architecture within language and linguistic models. The project revisits the situationist practice of Guy Debord and redefines our relationship to the city by initiating a conscious dérive through the use of an architectural bibliography.
Invisible Cities and transient urban pattern-making: My artistic practice revolves around creating transient and temporary structures either through linguistic modes or architectural strategies. Invisible Cities , an ongoing series of altered bookworks, involve the painstaking excision of layers from art and architecture publications to create small, portable, detailed architectural and intellectual interiors. Apart from investigating how language is integral to the creation and survival of architecture, these bookworks also develop a type of intimate urban pattern making similar to the results of a Situationist dérive . Situate This !! is a project that continues this type of urban pattern renewal executed on a larger architectural scale.

The word dérive , meaning “drift”, is a practice initiated by the Situationist International (1957-1972) used to discover new patterns of movement throughout a city without a fixed path or destination. Initiating a dérive invariably results in extinguishing established patterns of movement within the city through the introduction and (perhaps) re-discovery of new urban pathways. A typical situationist dérive conjures up the subconscious to explore so-called “psyhogeographic” regions in order to enhance our experience and perception of the urban environment by attempting to break our established patterns of movement throughout an urban landscape. Paris-based theorist Guy Debord, infamous alcoholic and head of the Situationist International, was renowned for his alcoholinduced urban pattern-making. While this method of initiating a “drift” proved successful for Debord, the methodology proposed for Situate This!! aims to succeed in initiating a “conscious” dérive through the use of an architectural bibliography.

Installation Details:
The architectural bibliography consists of a comprehensive list of 137 multilingual architectural book titles borrowed from The Words Between the Spaces , an influential book by Thomas A. Markus and Deborah Cameron. The book is a compendium of articles, essays and case studies analyzing and investigating architecture’s dependence upon language. The entire bibliography
is reproduced in vinyl letters and installed on the walls around the gallery. These bibliographic texts are printed backwards, a mirror-image, with small portable mirrors available in the gallery as an aid to reading the text. As the book titles circumnavigate the gallery, the installation attempts to define and delineate the architectural space of the gallery. ”Turning away from the wall and looking at the text through a mirror makes the text readable, activating it and the space by causing viewers to alter their typical orientation to looking at art, making for an unusual experience within the gallery setting. The content of the text serves to further highlight architecture’s dependence upon language.”

By rethinking and updating the theories of the Situationists through the use of a conscious “drift”, popular notions of longevity and permanence in architecture are re-examined in order to perpetuate a revision of how society views architecture. Situate This !! also touches upon the role of language and architecture as mechanisms for mass social control. Realizing that language, as a transient and portable entity, is a permanent fixture in our society, perhaps we can impose some form of transience in architecture in order to achieve a type of permanence within architecture.

Paul de Guzman, April 2006