02 July 2019
Serpentine Pavilion 2019: until 6th October, wandering through London’s Kensington Gardens, a ‘slate roof’ emerging from the ground, supported by slender pillars can be spotted (“Possessing the weighty presence of slate roofs seen around the world, and simultaneously appearing so light it could blow away in the breeze”): a hollow space, a shelter from the elements that retains its lightness and interaction with the surrounding landscape. The 2019 Serpentine Pavilion (one of the world’s most-visited pieces of temporary architecture) was commissioned this year from the young Japanese architect Junya Ishigami.
Pinacoteca Civica di Como: the cycle of unrelated exhibitions, curated by Roberta Lietti and Paolo Brambilla, continues. Following the ‘small’ furniture designed by Terragni for the Sant’Elia nursery, showcased last year, there is an exploration of the relationships between the painter Mario Radice, a leading exponent of Como’s Abstractionist School, and his ‘architect friends,’ Cesare Cattaneo and Ico Parisi as well as Giuseppe Terragni. A reminder of the time when art and architecture worked in symbiosis.
Another great reason for a trip to the Langhe area: English artist David Tremlett’s extraordinary wall drawing has just been unveiled. It is a continuous fresco that unfolds along the walls of the nave of the 17th century deconsecrated chapel of San Maurizio at Santo Stefano Belbo (Località San Maurizio, 39, Santo Stefano Belbo, Cuneo). This is Tremlett’s third foray into the Langhe, following his work on the chapel at La Morra in 1999, and then on the small chapel among the vineyards at Coazzolo, in 2017.
John Pawson in Milan: the English master of Minimalism has reinvented the Valextra boutique in Via Manzoni (in line with the design philosophy of the brand, which selects a different architect each year to take on the space in question). Plaster-covered surfaces, grey stone floors and a complete absence of decoration transform the space into a secular ‘temple.’
Bauhaus is perfectly at home in Weimar: the restoration of the famous ‘Haus am Horn’ was completed as the legendary school celebrates its centenary. Designed by Georg Muche in 1923 (‘overseen’ by Gropius himself), it was seen as the ‘habitable prototype’ of Bauhaus theories. See for yourself.
Rudolf Stingel at the Beyerler Foundation: a large Stingel retrospective is being held at the enchanting Beyerler Foundation premises in Basel until 6th October. Strangely enough, by being born in Merano, despite his Austrian upbringing and New York residency, Stingel is Italian! Aside from the methods and supports harnessed (which also include carpet and thermal insulation building material), the fundamental message underpinning the exhibition concerns the importance of painting in the contemporary age.
Everyday Magistretti: if you happen to be making your way along Milan’s Via Conservatorio towards the Chiesa della Passione and the Collegio delle Fanciulle (a place off the beaten tourist track, but hugely fascinating), grab the opportunity to visit the Magistretti Foundation, at 20 Via Conservatorio, and see the small but thorough exhibition Cose Normali. Abitare con Vico Magistretti, curated by the anthropologist Claudio Rosati, and mounted by Luca Poncellini.
Luzzati Labyrinth: who remembers Lele Luzzati’s fabulous book, which spawned a cartoon, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves? “Who knows, who doesn’t / this is the story of Ali Baba / who, to spend his time cheerfully, / did a bit of everything just to do nothing.” This, if nothing else, calls for a visit to Luzzati’s birth city of Genoa, to see the major retrospective of the ‘indefinable’ scenographer, painter and writer: at the Ducal Palace – there’s still time – till 3rd November!
Arata Isozaki - Pritzker Prize 2019: this great Japanese architect was awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize for Architecture. A thoroughly well deserved accolade, achieved at the age of 88. As a child, Isozaki witnessed the devastating effects of the atomic bomb and his vocation as an architect stems directly from his desire to rebuild and overcome (he graduated from Tokyo under Kenzo Tange, winner of the 1987 Pritzker Prize). Initially linked with Japanese Brutalism, as of the Eighties he has deployed an intelligent and painstaking International Style. (Strangely enough, in 1986 Isozaki curated the first great Gio Ponti retrospective at Tokyo’s Seibu Art Museum, at a time when the latter was ‘yet to be rediscovered.’
Jean Arp in Venice is undoubtedly a good reason to return to Peggy Guggenheim’s home on the Lagoon. Until 2nd September 70 works by the great French painter and sculptor (his very first piece was bought by Peggy herself!) will be on view, epitomising the sort of abstraction that is capable of great sensuality.