Lieven de Boeck
m.u.s.e.u.m., Installation 2004
To architects, the word museum‚ invokes a type‚ - not a defined form but a series of prescriptions for a form - before we even start considering the questions of the museum‚s contents and its work. As architects, we go to our manuals, and in particular to our version of the‚ manual, Ernst Neufert’s Practical Encyclopaedia of Design and Building.
The Neufert’ seems to contain or at least suggest a critique of the discipline and of the role of architecture in answering the question, „What is a museum?“.
Functions and systems of relations of the museum are here defined, but the museum finds no form, which remains only suggested by a series of partial and unrelated examples (plans and sections, but not the corresponding ones). And while the museum has many functions and can take many forms, even the Neufert‚ has to acknowledge that the museum type does not exist. Not only that. The museum can easily occupy and parasitize existing disused structures. It remains therefore defined by its functions and contents, by how it occupies space rather than make space. It is here that Lieven De Boeck’s work on museum typology begins. De Boeck’s architectural investigations always use exact quantities, numbers, precise definitions of words dimensions and times. It is with the sharpness of these tools that his drawings cut through architectural typologies and conventions.
In this case, the tool is a tip-ex pen, subtle instrument of precise and partial erasure which leaves on the manual‚s pages ghostly traces of the lines and words, which are not removed but added onto. Tip-exing rather than knifing away, the process adds onto the certainties and the doubts of the given, obliterates functions and keeps spaces, but only to re-occupy them and modify them.