Miguel Rothschild – The house of Atlanteans

Miguel Rothschild

Hermann Finsterlin (1887–1973) was a bohemian who failed
in many respects. His extensive oeuvre reveals him as an
original, though not terrible successful German painter, graphic
artist, musician, poet and philosopher.1 He never actually built
anything, but countless expressionist architectural drawings by
him survive. His utopian sketches are from 1919–20, when (under
the pseudonym Prometh) he was engaged in a lively correspondence
with members of the artist community around Bruno
Taut, which called itself Gläserne Kette (Crystal Chain) and
whose goal was to create a more imaginative architecture, a
place of peace that was to capture and distribute the light of the
universe; the group was convinced that only by changing architecture
and constructing buildings of transparent and coloured
glass could humanity reach a higher cultural level.2
The organic forms in Finsterlin’s sketch are reminiscent
of sprawling clumps of simple organisms like bacteria, fungi,
or algae. With his Haus der Atlantiden (1919) he goes back
to the famous myth which is reported in Plato’s late dialogues
Timaios and Critias, about a happy, fertile island whose inhabitants
initially lived in harmony with the gods, developed a
high civilization, and was finally, after the spread of greed and
the desire to conquest, hit by an enormous natural catastrophe.3
Miguel Rothschild, an Argentinian living in Germany, retells
this story of an ideal island realm that disappeared in the depth
of the sea, which has inspired the imagination in the West for
so long. Built with plastic water bottles, Rothschild’s construction
invites the visitors of the exhibition examples to follow !
to enter on the ground of Atlantis, which was put together like
a mosaic from colourful plastic lids. Visitors are to become Atlantides,
rest there, take the books in the small library, float on
the flood of images, become engrosses in dreams and visions
about sustainability.
Text: María Cecilia Barbetta