02 Mar 2017


Gianni Pettena
Strength, Process, Waste, Dispersion

At 7 pm

Gianni Pettena (born 1940 in Bolzano) is a Florence-based artist-architect-critic. In his installations and interventions he breaks down the boundaries of conventional concepts of space in both urban and scenic contexts

He studied architecture and found already during his education the most important stimuli in dialogue with the Fluxus and concept art of the time, soon followed by American land art. With Archizoom, Superstudio and UFO, he was part of the core of the radical architecture that systematically practised a radical self-questioning of architectural thinking in Florence in the late 1960s. In 1971, Pettena sought his first (teaching) experience in the United States. He later taught the History of Contemporary Architecture at institutions including the University of Florence until 2008 and invited Terry Fox, Chris Burden, Ketty La Rocca and other international colleagues to participate in his seminars.

Pettena’s drawings, installations and spacial interventions have been exhibited throughout the world since the 1970s. Sites have included the Centre Pompidou, Paris (1978), the Venice Biannale (1996), the Mori Museum, Tokyo (2004), the Barbican Centre, London (2006), the 6th Berlin Biannale (2010) and the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions / LACE (2014). At the same time, he was always active as a critic and curator. His curating activities included the first Italian exhibition of work by Frederick Law Olmsted, who planned New York’s Central Park, at the Uffizi Gallery, Florence in 1996.

For 50 years now, Pettena’s own work has revolved around subversive articulations of and in space, the performativity of urban spaces, the freeing of spacial potential and unlikely spaces, and the physicality of nature and its materials. In 2002 the Frac Centre, Orléans dedicated a large retrospective and an accompanying monograph to him. In 1972 he had his first solo exhibition at the John Weber Gallery, New York.

We are very happy that Gianni Pettena will talk about his work at the Villa Romana. Now with an international presence and recognition, his artistic and social practice remains a large and unexhausted resource today.