I. I. I. I.
International Institute for Important Items
Louise Hervé & Chloé Maillet

Reconstruction Day…, a typically Ruskinian reconstruction / une reconstitution typiquement ruskinienne, 2010

Reconstruction Day (with true pictures, a Ruskinian tale, and life and death in Spitalfields)
Performance, Raven Row, London, 2010

With the participation of Benjamin Seror

Exerpt from the performance :
«Indeed, John Ruskin, the famous XIXth century writer, philosopher, historian of art wrote in the middle chapter of the Stones of Venice in 1853 a very influential definition of the “Nature of gothic”. As every one knows nowadays, Gothic is by nature full of
1. savageness
2. changefulness
3. naturalism
4. grotesqueness
5. rigidity
6. redundance
It is an English point of view. At the same time, in France, the famous architect Viollet-le-Duc had a very different appreciation of gothic. Viollet-le-Duc was a scholar who did not hesitate to reconstruct the buildings as they were, or even as they should have been back in the Middle Ages. Whereas, for Ruskin, restoration is “the worst manner of destruction”, as he writes in The seven lamps of architecture (1849) Manfred, can we reconstruct Ruskin’s aphorism 31? (Chloé Maillet pours fake blood on Benjamin Seror). “It is impossible, as impossible as to raise the dead, to restore anything that has ever been great or beautiful”.