Ruins signal simultaneously an absence and a presence; they show, they are, an intersection of the visible and the invisible. Fragmented, decayed structures, which no longer serve their original purpose, point to an absence a lost invisible whole. But their visible presence also points to durability, even if that which is no longer what it once was.
Ruins speak to us in ways that things made by nature cannot. In their persistent presence, ruins speak to us of the structures they once were, of the people who made them, of those who commanded them to be made, and of those who for a time made use of them. In their evocation of absence, they speak of those who destroyed them or those who have tried to make sense of them, or have been drawn to represent them, or have used them as objects of memorialisation.
(Extract from "Irresistible Decay" by Micheal S Roth with Claire Lyons by the Getty Research Institute 1997)