Exodus and Nineteen Eighty Four

8:00 AM

Rem Koolhaas, Exodus, 1975
Eerily dark, Rem Koolhaas's Exodus radiates of nothing but fear and power. Koolhaas's art differs from others in that his paintings are more like sculptures. Looking closely, Koolhaas creates the Exodus with photograph cut outs and odd texture backgrounds. On even closer inspection, the background seems to have traces of newspaper cuttings pasted backwards. Three faint lines of text are slightly hidden, blending in with the background. Two words are visibly outlined, "showing" and "cancerous" - words that people often use in detrimental context.

On first sight, the drawing depicts a throng of men walking uniformly in line towards an unknown destination. However the path they currently march on emits bleakness and a loss of identity. They all wear the same hat, the same dark jacket, shuffling in the same direction, in the same way. Were the painting to move, perhaps they would even blink and breath in sync.

The way that Koolhaas portrays these men, as if they did not have a speckle of hope in them, screams of 1984 by George Orwell. The suffocating barriers of the wall, the obvious men in power on top of the wall, and the endless background all added another octave to the similarity to 1984.

Orwell writes, "A nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting- three hundred million people all with the same face."

Koolhaas could use the sentence as a caption. In the shadows lies a broken ancient sculpture seemingly in a rubbish bin - perhaps a symbol of a dying intellectual world. The men move away from knowledge and slowly enter into a world, like Winston, of lies and ignorance.

The Exodus from knowledge begins.

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