2007 September 9th, personal exhibition opening

September 9th at 11.00 am will see the opening of the personal exhibition of Massimo Scolari in Riva del Garda, Trento, Italy.

The exhibition proposes drawings, watercolour paintings and models by Massimo Scolari. A room, dressed and dedicated to some of the pieces of furniture designed by Scolari for Giorgetti, is also foreseen.

Massimo Scolari

September 9th – November 4th 2007
Curator: Giovanni Marzari
Catalogue by Skira
Riva del Garda Museum.
3, p.zza C. Battisti
38066 Riva del Garda (TN) Italy
t +39 0464 573 869

from the introduction to the catalogue, an extract from the text Passaggio a Riva by Giovanni Marzari
An exhibition of the work of Scolari provides us with a very special testimony, one that examines ahighly complex, intense approach, and one which stands alone in the range of current trends, onesuperficially “overlooked” by the eye of the media and the events industry. Yet this has not led to it beingwholly unknown: as a matter of fact it has gained almost cult status among the most avant-garde circles ofarchitectural thought.

The place chosen for this exhibition is Riva del Garda: “I cannot think of a better place for thisexhibition,” Léon Krier rightly states in a letter. Riva provides a very particular and challengingbackdrop, not one to be used by chance when it is a question of making clear cultural choices. A veryspecial and powerful relationship is created here between the physical and imaginary landscapes of Rivaand Scolari’s show. Originally conceived to repropose his splendid watercolours, showing the delight andamazement to be aroused by the hundreds of beautiful works found in countless notebooks, it thenbecame a reflection of the vastness of this multifaceted intellectual artist’s reflections as well as the rangeof his unknown works. The wide variety of materials adopted pays homage to this digging deep, carriedout during long “periods of apnoea” (as he himself calls them), followed by sudden returns with workslike the installations to be found in the Venice Biennali or Palazzo Barbaran da Porto in Vicenza.

And it is in the very development of Massimo Scolari’s work that the underlying essence of his art is tobe found. The monstrous figures that filled his paintings throughout the ‘60s – those in which Aldo Rossi(on the occasion of the exhibition at the Rinascita Gallery in Milan in 1967) was to identify aninclination, a “tendency towards deformation” – were to undergo a radical transformation. And it was hisstudy of architecture, of its most fundamental aspects, that would lead to the metamorphosis of thosedisarming figures into architectural shapes.

This work contributed to improve his work, which progressed with a rare coherence over the years on thesame themes, leading to the perfect clarity of his forms. The graded outline of his Ali found at the VeniceBiennale (1991), an image which recurs in many of his watercolours, may be traced back to his Arca atthe Milan Triennale (1986) and (used in rotation on the longest cathetus) was then to form the basis of thederelict tower in the Italian Pavilion of the 2004 Venice Biennale. Providing the focus of the exhibitionnot on a selection of works but rather on the complex work that tells, as Daniele Del Giudice writes, “ofthe various activities: architecture, painting, sculpture and writing” which determine Massimo Scolari’s“very rare characteristic” and that “absolute uniqueness” also meant highlighting the means underpinninghis approach. His field of study is always theoretical. Scolari reasons in terms of both figures andwritings. As Carlo Bertelli underlines, “he investigates the very secrets of art itself. Especially the greatestsecret which is the representation of space.

”It is through the various stages of drawing, from the sketch to the technical drawing – in the sense of theplanned drawing – that the complexity of his art comes to the fore. This comes out through his drawingand the reasoning that goes on behind his drawing, in fact, the delicate mechanism of “incorporating”cognitive data: this is the “metaphysics of drawing” that runs through the themes found in his painting,his architecture, his design and his writings. An intense passion for teaching is to be found throughout theresearch and works of Massimo Scolari. A passion which manifests itself as an ongoing reflection onarchitecture – “architecture meant as a form of invention” – based on an authentic and learned inclination towards archaeology. In the ongoing comparison with the past, the sense, the underlying meaning of his forms may beglimpsed, thus offering once more the chance to think of architecture in terms of “conception”, the“aspect of form itself, its eidetic nature, not the construction side”. The depth of his digging in search ofan illuminating glimmer is shown in the volume Il disegno obliquo – una storia dell’antiprospettiva,written, as James Ackerman points out, by “a master of historical research”.

However, the aim of the exhibition and the catalogue is not to illustrate the thoroughness and coherenceof Scolari’s works. As a matter of fact, at the same time, the aim is to open up a critical reflection, anevaluation of Massimo Scolari’s influence on the wider debate on architecture and art. In the writingspresented, particularly in those of Leon Krier and Peter Eisenman, we find a sense of necessity andurgency for a direct comparison, albeit from points of view which are polemically symmetrical. Accessing works like those of Scolari, who Rilkianly chooses to “keep it difficult” as the statement of anunquestioned certainty, may in fact turn out to be an extremely arduous path to follow.

Even though his images, his landscapes and his works in general emanate a highly attractive power, theystill show themselves to be just as powerfully enigmatic: “getting into them may not prove to be easy”,comments Joseph Rykwert. Perhaps it’s because their enigma is the result of an implacable correction,founded on what today is a very rare element: precision; “the light of precision”, that light which places Massimo Scolari in the circle of the “unforgivable chosen ones” as Cristina Campo would say.