Archivio Pietro Consagra is pleased to inform you of some current and upcoming activities and events devoted to Pietro Consagra: the exhibition focus revolving round installation Trama (Weave), 1972, on view at Mart in Rovereto until 29 July 2018, the participation in the Italian Pavilion, curated by architect Mario Cucinella, at the upcoming Venice Architecture Biennale (open from 26 May to 25 November 2018) and the presentation of autobiography “Pietro Consagra. Vita Mia”, published by Skira, on Wednesday 30 May (at 6.30pm) at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Milan.
Until 28 July 2018, Mart (Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto) hosts a curatorial focus on Trama (Weave), Un millimetro (One Millimetre) and Sottilissime (Extremely thins), curated by Denis Isaia and realized in collaboration with Archivio Pietro Consagra.
Trama (Weave), an environment first presented in 1972, at the 36th Venice Biennale, is exhibited again for the first time in a layout design embodying the plastic and spatial values that characterise the research of the artist, who since the 1950s has been engaged in a radical revisitation of the concept of frontal sculpture.
Originally installed at the entrance of Italian Pavilion, in the spaces leading to the exhibition “Aspects of Contemporary Italian Sculpture”, the work is made up of seven wooden sculptures, much taller than a man and coloured sky-blue, white, black and brown, standing on a platform and close to one another, which made it impossible to contemplate them from a distance. Towered over by diversified sculptures, visitors feel like they have stepped into a dense forest of curves set in layers, of surfaces that interfered one with the other and of which they became part. At the end of this maze-like space, on a pedestal designed by Carlo Scarpa, visitors encounter and can browse a book made of steel, consisting of 12 sculpture-pages, which Consagra named after its overall thickness: Un Millimetro (One Millimetre).
Completing the display are some sculptures from the Sottilissime (Extremely thins) series, with which Consagra renewed his investigation into the relationship between surface and environment, pushing matter toward its physical limits.
Within the Italian Pavilion, curated by architect Mario Cucinella, at the upcoming Venice Architecture Biennale, open to the public from 26 May 2018, a reutilisation project for Consagra’s Gibellina Theatre, which has remained unfinished, will be presented. Created by Consagra in 1972, the theatre reflects the concept developed for the Città Frontale (Frontal City) in 1968, of which several scale models for the buildings, featuring no right angles and set up in an irregular urban plan, will be exhibited. Consagra’s scale models of the Frontal Buildings (1968) in stainless steel, with two identical transparent facades, have a “continuous curved plane” profile and appear as enveloping, welcoming habitable sculptures in which curved planes, slopes and differentiated levels would determine active behaviour by stimulating the imagination of the Internal Author – into which Consagra envisaged each inhabitant would be transformed – hence enabling them, as he explained in his theoretical essay “La Città Frontale” (“The Frontal City”), published in February 1969, to experience art as “the only way to keep oneself suspicious, susceptible, nervous, intolerant, evasive, enthusiastic, balanced, unbalanced, attentive, aggressive, lazy, imaginative, libidinous, free, ungraspable.”
On Wednesday 30 May, at 6.30pm, at the Galleria D’Arte Moderna di Milano (via Palestro 16), the autobiography “Pietro Consagra. Vita Mia” will be presented. The event will include interventions by Luca Massimo Barbero (Dircetor at Istituto Storia dell’Arte at Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice), Mario Cucinella (architect and curator at Italian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale), Alberto Fiz (art critic, curator and journalist) and Andrea Kerbaker (Director at Tempo di Libri).
The volume, first published by Feltrinelli in 1980 and now re-edited by Skira, explores the figure of Pietro Consagra, internationally acclaimed sculptor renowned for the originality of his works, not only from an artistic but also from a personal and human point of view. In these pages, Consagra looks back at his life (the childhood and adolescence years during the war, the very first artistic experimentations, his relocation to Rome in 1944 and his short-lived militancy in the Italian Communist Party, his personal defence of “abstractionism” against “realism” in the Italian art scene of the time until the achievement of international recognition), tracing a detailed profile of his personal artistic journey.
Installation view of Trama (Weave), 1972, by Pietro Consagra al Mart di Rovereto. Foto Mart, Archivio fotografico e mediateca/Carlo Baroni
MART (The Modern and Contemporary Art Museum of Trento and Rovereto) exhibits Pietro Consagra’s Trama (Weave), Un Millimetro (One Millimetre) and Sottilissime (Extremely thins) until 28 July 2018
Exhibition setup: Ruggero Moncada di Paternò
In collaboration with Archivio Pietro Consagra
Right from the start Consagra’s sculpture expressed a tendency to step outside itself, not into interior self-isolation but into the life of everyone and, at the same time, remaining intimately bound to the artist’s hand and perceptions. At the beginning of the fifties Consagra’s sculptures called Colloqui (Colloquies) stood, with their frontal positioning, in a direct and immediate dialogue with the beholder. Then in 1968, with the Città Frontale (Frontal City) project, they became “continuous curved plane” habitable forms, destined to elicit an active behaviour by stimulating the imagination of the Interior author (into this the artist envisaged transforming every inhabitant) who “will find himself in a provocative space-height, be it in the work, in encounters or in resting.
From the loose knit town planning scheme of the Città Frontale (Frontal City) there grew a spatial inspiration of the opposite nature. In 1972, at the 36th Venice Biennale, Consagra presented Trama (Weave), an environment to pass through at the entrance to the central Pavilion for access to the exhibition “Aspects of Contemporary Sculpture”.
Spectators found themselves amid seven wooden sculptures, taller than a man and coloured sky-blue, white, black and brown, standing on a platform close to one another which made it impossible to contemplate them from a distance. Towered over by diversified sculptures, for the visitors it was as if they had penetrated a dense forest of curves set in layers, of surfaces that interfered one with the other and of which they became part. At the end of the itinerary, on a pedestal designed by the architect Carlo Scarpa, there was a book in steel that one could pick up and leaf through, consisting of twelve sheet-sculptures: Consagra named it for its overall thickness, Un Millimetro (One millimetre). From the plastic values of a compact space one passed to the experience of the extreme thinness of the sculpture-sheets.
Already in 1968, with the Sottilissime (Extremely thins), Consagra had reduced the surface to two tenths of a millimeter, almost depriving the sculptures of weight and achieving an astonishing transparency. In fact at less than one tenth of a millimeter the sheet bends, generating Sottilissime impossibili (Impossible extremely thins).
The present installation of Trama and Un millimetro reprises the original setup at the Venice Biennale and includes a simplified reconstruction of the pedestal bearing Un millimetro, Scarpa’s original and its design having been lost. If first in the Colloqui (Colloquies) the further space was perceived by the eye that crossed the voids delineated by the form, with the Frontal City and Trama the involvement of the other becomes not only mental but also corporeal. In the steel membrane of the Sottilissime on show, it is the environment instead that permeates.