The LCXXII series (2022) is a network of sculptures based on computer-generated images of architectural cross-sections of existing structures by London-based artist Nika Neelova. The sculptures are exposing the phantom architectures and the hidden layers of buildings by making a straight cut through their walls and foundations. Transecting the architectural body in order to uncover enclosed structural layers, each piece in the series is formed following methods of reverse archaeology. Exposing the remnants of the building replicated in concrete, jesmonite, hand-cast ceramics, glass and metals the sculptures recreate the future ruins of the facades, external and internal walls, insulation, underfloor heating, cabling, pipework, skirting boards, flooring and screed. The various materials reassembled and combined in these spatial collages are reminiscent of both archaeological finds and futuristic debris and proto-ruins. By revealing the ‘hidden geology’ of buildings, the pieces trace a line of continuity between the human body, architecture and geology of earth.
Dissection in architecture has long been used as an analytic tool comparable to its use in medical practices.
As doctors practiced anatomical dissection, architects attempted to understand the interior of buildings by slicing section cuts through them. In the sketchbook of Leonardo da Vinci, cutaway views of architectural interiors appear beside anatomical drawings. Likewise in the nineteenth century, Viollet-le-Duc illustrated his Dictionnaire raisonné de l’architecture Française with perspectival exploded cuts showing medieval buildings as dissected. Vitruvius, in the first century BC, devoted a large part of the first of his Ten Books on Architecture to the question of health, discussing the internal working of bodies and building alike. He used established medical theories as foundations for architectural theories, suggesting that architecture itself becomes a branch of medicine.