Ambasz, Fax to Barbara Radice (1990)
in "Radicals" pgs. 247-48 and in "Terrazzo" n. 5, 1990)
Back to our subject. Of all the people of the Architettura Radicale period who I think have been unjustly treated and not well enough appreciated, Gianni Pettena stands out as the most interesting figure. There he was making architecture in the form of gestures. He would refer to magnificent architectural domains of the mind by means of negative spaces that he created. For him, also, the architectural image could not be made without sinning. Different from the others his means were not words but drapes which the wind would move, blocks of ice which the sun would melt, or totally incongruous photos. One of his creations, I recall vividly, was the photo of a large billboard in Minneapolis depicting a policeman looking like a child-molester who, in reality, was desperately trying to revive a boy by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation under a big legend, "And they call him pigs". I also recall his drawings, suggestive of intermissions, dislocations and breakage points where lond established ceremonies were to be slightly offset from their normal bearings so that one could see that they contained in themselves an ironic key to remake themselves anew. I haven't seen him for a long time and I would like to see him again. Tell me, has he also become an academic boss?
As for UFO and Zziggurat I remember that one of them I gave an award (Zziggurat? e.n.) in another life when I was assumed to be a powerful curator. As for the other group (UFO? e.n.) I read everything he wrote. Why was it that whenever I saw Lapo's photograph heading one of his articles the image of Vogue Design for Men came to my mind. He was Firenze's sarcast. Under his sharp tongue everybody's garments tore to shreds, and everybody's curtain fell to the ground. How many times did I wonder whether the strength of Lapo's remarks came from sublimating architectural images? Was that the price he paid to uphold his view of the Moral City? Do you also smell as if something is burning? Is it me, or a passing whiff of Savonarola's ashes?