from Interpretation of the Landscape in the work of Gianni Pettena, in 'Gianni Pettena. Il mestiere dell'architetto', Silvana Editoriale, 2002
For Pettena the landscape depends above all on linguistic coordinates, and remains on the line of demarcation between the irreducible physicality of matter and action understood as construction of space. (for him, r.n.) art only makes sense in reference to architecture, and in turn architecture takes on meaning only within the logic of art. On the boundary between these two creative disciplines, Pettena explores the dimension of the event, the physical effectiveness of the concept, the figurativeness of the material, the symbolic imagery of language…
(….) it is not the territory that is codified in the map, but the map that is materialized in the territory. The architecture has to recover its physicality, it is a mixture of territory and landscape, of construction-material and of map-nature. The scale of Gianni Pettena's interventions is also of a narrative order: it fabricates ties between the realm of the real and that of imagination. Pettena insists on a "physicalist" approach to the landscape, even while donning the guise of an archeologist who brings layers of memory to the surface. The reading of the landscape can only be an ambulatory exercise, between perceptual, cognitive "knowledge," and emotional, individual "remembrance," onto which is projected our physical interpretation, as evolutionary in nature as the slow structuring of the forms of the landscape.