MAXXI curator discusses major upcoming aldo rossi retrospective in rome

MAXXI curator discusses major upcoming aldo rossi retrospective in rome

MAXXI, the national museum of 21st century arts in rome, presents ‘aldo rossi. the architect and the cities’, a major retrospective celebrating the work and legacy of the world-renowned italian architect, designer and scholar. one of the leading figures of the postmodern movement, rossi designed numerous completed works in italy and beyond, including the residential unit in milan’s gallaratese district (see more here), modena’s san cataldo cemetery, and berlin’s quartier schützenstrasse. the exhibition, which opens march 10 and will be on view until october 17, 2021, brings together exceptional material from collections and archives from all over the world, including drawings, sketches, notes, letters, photographs, models and documents.

 

 

developed in collaboration with fondazione aldo rossi and sponsored by molteni&c and unifor, the show guides visitors through the development and the thinking of the milan-born architect, who was also the first italian to receive the pritzker prize in 1990. to learn more about rossi’s role and contribution in the sphere of italian and international architecture, designboom spoke with the exhibition’s curator, alberto ferlenga. read the interview in full below.MAXXI curator discusses major upcoming aldo rossi retrospective in romealdo rossi with the ‘la conica’ espresso coffee maker, designed for alessi, senza data, collezione MAXXI architettura. archivio aldo rossi

 

 

designboom (DB): you have curated previous exhibitions and edited several books on the life and works of aldo rossi. can you tell us a few words about the main principals that defined his practice and ideas?

 

alberto ferlenga (AF): the first consideration that can be made about aldo rossi is that he is a completely ‘anomalous’ architect and for this reason it is difficult to classify him by comparing him with other architects of the twentieth century. this is because he contains in himself, at the same time, the figures of the intellectual, the artist, the poet and, of course, the architect. however, one can find a common background to all his activities: the city. it is the interest in cities that constitutes the leitmotif of his theoretical research and his professional activity, and the exhibition highlights this aspect in particular.MAXXI curator discusses major upcoming aldo rossi retrospective in romealdo rossi con m. scheurer, progetto per un nuovo stabile amministrativo per la ubs, lugano, svizzera (1990)
modello, s.d., carta, cartoncino, legno, collezione MAXXI architettura. archivio aldo rossi © eredi aldo rossi

 

 

DB: the retrospective brings together numerous materials from all over the world, including architecture drawings, models, design objects and more. how is the exhibition organized to help visitors follow the development and thinking of the great italian architect and designer?

 

AF: the exhibition on aldo rossi mainly proposes three itineraries and three focuses. the paths refer to activities that we could define as autonomous, even if, together, they have contributed to connote his particular personality. the first path concerns the hundreds of projects developed all over the world, as a forerunner of the figure of the archistar and as the first italian winner of the pritzker prize. the second concerns his activity as an artist, evidenced by hundreds of drawings sometimes linked to projects and sometimes not. the third concerns his intense activity as a theorist, professor and lecturer.

 

the focuses, on the other hand, concern first milan, his city, the location of his most important studio and the place of his beginnings as an intellectual and as an architect. the second focus is on the modena cemetery, (1971) perhaps his most important project; and the third shows the theater of the world, (1981) an extraordinary and light opera, at the same time, a floating theater anchored in the heart of venice, which marks the starting point of his international fame. other insights offered in the exhibition concern his passion for cinema, his publishing activity, and the small blue notebooks in which he annotated every day his reflections on architecture.MAXXI curator discusses major upcoming aldo rossi retrospective in romearchitettura con santo. composizione architettonica con figura umana, 1972, copia eliografica, acquarelli, pennarelli e pastelli colorati su carta , collezione MAXXI architettura. archivio aldo rossi © eredi aldo rossi

 

 

DB: what are some of your favourite pieces on display?

 

AF: one of my favorite works, among those exhibited in the exhibition, is the large panel called ‘the analogous city’ (la città analoga) in which aldo rossi summarizes his ideas on the city and architecture in the form of a collage.MAXXI curator discusses major upcoming aldo rossi retrospective in romealdo rossi con eraldo consolascio, bruno reichlin e fabio reinhart, ‘la città analoga’, progetto utopico per la xxxvii mostra internazionale di arte della biennale di venezia [1976], composizione architettonica, s.d.

 

 

DB: why do you think the work of aldo rossi is particularly relevant in current times?

 

AF: the figure of aldo rossi is undoubtedly important today, both for his architectural production but, above all, for the great effort aimed at the theoretical re-foundation of architecture to adapt it to new tasks: the italian post-war reconstruction, the renewal of the european city (berlin, barcelona, milano, etc.) and, finally, globalization with its risks and opportunities.MAXXI curator discusses major upcoming aldo rossi retrospective in rome aldo rossi, con g. braghieri, concorso per il cimitero di san cataldo, modena, 1971-1983, “studio per il cimitero di modena con principali elementi per la mostra di modena”, giugno 1983, inchiostro di china, matita, acquerelli, pennarelli su carta velina incollata su cartoncino, collezione MAXXI architettura. archivio aldo rossi © eredi aldo rossi

 

 

DB: what experiences and thoughts do you hope visitors will take away from the exhibition?

 

AF: from the exhibition I believe that the ‘standard’ visitor can, first of all, get the impression of a huge work. a job that includes in itself both the dimension of the game and that of the practice. a production therefore particularly pleasant to observe, both in regards to the colorful drawings and the more than 50 original wooden models. for the visitor who is also an architect, I would like the idea to remain that architecture is not only the production of large or small scale objects, but also the thought and relationship with cities and human life.

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aldo rossi, fantasia architettonica con elementi del cimitero di san cataldo a modena, della scuola di broni e di altri progetti, s.d., copia, penna, acquerelli colorati su carta, collezione MAXXI architettura. archivio aldo rossi © eredi aldo rossi

aldo rossi was born in milan in 1931, where he graduated with a degree in architecture from the politecnico. after graduating, in 1970, he began working with a number of american universities, including harvard and yale. he accepted prestigious positions, such as that of the director of the architecture section of the venice biennale in 1983, and his design projects included private and public buildings.

 

his memorable projects include the residential unit in milan’s gallaratese district, modena’s san cataldo cemetery, reconstructing genoa’s teatro carlo felice, the block between kochstrasse and friedrichstrasse in berlin, rebuilding the teatro ‘la fenice’ in venice, and the bonnefantenmuseum in maastricht. architect and scholar, he was nominated accademico di san luca in 1979, awarded the pritzker prize in 1990 and the thomas jefferson medal in architecture in 1991. he is also famous for his work as a designer and an artist, which brought him closer to the world of painting and graphics, always linked to his planning work. rossi died in milan on september 4, 1997, following a car accident.
MAXXI curator discusses major upcoming aldo rossi retrospective in romealdo rossi, con g. braghieri, concorso per il cimitero di san cataldo, modena, pianta, s.d., copia su carta, collezione MAXXI architettura. archivio aldo rossi © eredi aldo rossi

MAXXI curator discusses major upcoming aldo rossi retrospective in rome‘parigi’ armchair for unifor MAXXI curator discusses major upcoming aldo rossi retrospective in romeinterno milanese con persona che guarda duomo con nebbia, courtesy molteni museum

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‘piroscafo’, aldo rossi and luca meda

MAXXI curator discusses major upcoming aldo rossi retrospective in rometeatro la fenice sala rossi

MAXXI curator discusses major upcoming aldo rossi retrospective in rome‘carteggio’ secrétaire, aldo rossi, 1987, courtesy molteni

MAXXI curator discusses major upcoming aldo rossi retrospective in romeinterno, courtesy fondazione aldo rossi

MAXXI curator discusses major upcoming aldo rossi retrospective in rome
aldo rossi, teatro del mondo per la 1^ mostra internazionale di architettura della biennale di venezia (1979-80), prospetto, s.d., matita su carta velina, collezione MAXXI architettura. archivio aldo rossi © eredi aldo rossi

MAXXI curator discusses major upcoming aldo rossi retrospective in romealdo rossi, con m.adjmi, t. horiguchi, s. uchida, complesso alberghiero e ristorante / hotel and restaurant ‘il palazzo’, fukuoka (giappone), 1987-1990, image by nacasa and partners, fondazione aldo rossi

 

 

 

 

exhibition info:

 

name: aldo rossi. the architect and the cities

museum: MAXXI, national museum of XXI century art, rome

curator: alberto ferlenga

sponsors: molteni&C and unifor

duration: march 10 – october 17, 2021

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