The borderline is a widespread concept that one encounters while observing modern art and architecture. More than that, the borderline is a foundation, recognizable even in the most primitive art forms. It’s an expression of the infinite contradiction between two elements that live in harmony.
Sheats/Goldstein Residence (© Chimay Bleue)
Pictured above is the Californian Sheats/Goldstein Residence, situated on the hills of West Los Angeles. The view from the master bedroom depicts a bold borderline in the relationships: residence ↔ city and house ↔ nature. These two connections overlap each other: while the residence is surrounded by populated city area, the site’s environment gives a viewpoint as if the house is the populated area.
Andy Warhol’s “Suicide” shows a silhouette of a man whose falling body is in the middle of the path that leads to a certain death. He’s not dead, but neither is he alive—the borderline here is spiritual. The borderline can be found everywhere, even on a completely different scale and in a different sense—like the contradistinction of the inner and outer shadow on an object in any painting. The borderline concept isn’t new, but the ways we experience it today date with the origins of modernist art movement in the late 19th century; and with nowadays contemporary art it gets more and more recognition.
Farnsworth House (© Eduardo Ponce)
The borderline can sometimes be very sublime. Farnsworth House, designed as a weekend retreat, is a place where one can experience nature. The architect himself, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, stated: “If you view nature through the glass walls of the Farnsworth House, it gains a more profound significance than if viewed from the outside. That way more is said about nature—it becomes part of a larger whole.” The house’s connection with nature is apparent, but still, while inside you can only observe the surroundings. Thus, any intervention with nature creates a borderline, which subsequently gives a viewpoint.
No matter how far we go, the borderline is always present. It’s in our existence, and doings.