Le permis de penser (Licence to think)
Gallery Salle Principale, Paris
March 3 – May 12 2018
Opening March 2, 5 to 9 pm
"Io sona la spia": the man holding the sign bearing these words is a free man. Being free, from Pettena’s standpoint, means ignoring the zeitgeist, soaring above burdensome conformism, and emancipating oneself from the group and its convergent views. This is a surprise event, free from all restricted thoughts, be they conventional or radical. With this unexpected gesture, Pettena puts us in mind of Marcel Duchamp’s refusal "to be an artist in today’s sense of the word", nor yet an "anti-artist", preferring instead the term "anartist". This stance allowed Duchamp to push to the limits all kinds of references which lead to associations that art (or anti-art) institutions would be all too able to pick up on. The same is true of Pettena, whose position is neither one of acceptance, nor one of flat-out refusal, but instead takes him into a place very few people venture into for fear that they may be unable to get out again. This is how Pettena, who stands at the junction between different worlds, opens our eyes to a kind of architecture that we cannot see. He is, and will always be, an “anarchitect”.
The exhibition at Salle Principale looks back over 50 years of anarchitectural activity, which began in 1967 in Florence.