Lars Spuybroek, Grace and Gravity: Architectures of the Figure – Bloomsbury, November 2020
How do we live well? The first sentence of Grace and Gravity raises the fundamental question that constantly occupies our minds-and of all those who lived before us. Paradoxically, the impossibility of answering this question opens up the very room needed to find ways of living well. It is the gap where all disciplines fall short, where architecture does not fit its inhabitants, where economy is not based on shortage, where religion cannot be explained by its followers, and where technology works far beyond its own principles.
According to Lars Spuybroek, the prize-winning former architect, this marks the point where the “paradoxical machine” of grace reveals its powers, a point where we “cannot say if we are moving or being moved”. Following the trail of grace leads him to a new form of analysis that transcends the age-old opposition between appearances and technology. Linking up a dazzling and often delightful variety of sources-monkeys, paintings, lamp posts, octopuses, tattoos, bleeding fingers, rose windows, robots, smart phones, spirits, saints, and fossils-with profound meditations on living, death, consciousness, and existence, Grace and Gravity offers an eye-opening provocation to a wide range of art historians, architects, theologians, anthropologists, artists, media theorists and philosophers.
“Lars Spuybroek is one of the freshest and most original voices in our contemporary intellectual world. Grace and Gravity is a truly exceptional and quite extraordinary book. The reader comes away from encountering it with their minds instructed and their lives enriched. It is so much more than a merely ‘academic’ book and it can be appreciated on many levels. It is a book to savour and one can only be grateful for such a work.” – Keith Ansell-Pearson, University of Warwick, UK
“Natura semper facit saltus, nature always makes leaps. In this impressively erudite book, Lars Spuybroek shows that these leaps are not across sheer void, but a ‘thin, ghostlike film’ that does not quite belong either to the parts or wholes of things. Against the recent dogmas of continuity and immanence, he invites us to a new understanding of his key term, grace.” – Graham Harman, SCI-Arc, USA