About Pettena

(In CD-rom "Gianni Pettena tra arte e architettura", LAMS, University of Florence, 1996)


I met him in Florence, and I believe he was still an architecture student. Those were the rather "hot" years, as they used to say in those days, of the 1960s, politically agitated years, and Pettena was also fairly agitated. In that period there was an American who paid for me to stay in a very luxurious hotel [in Florence, ed.] called Villa Medici. I had a very luxurious room which overlooked the hotel entrance, and in those days the American Undersecretary of State was supposed to be coming. And I had known Pettena for a very short time… apart from the fact that when he spoke to me, every time I would have to say 'Could you repeat that please because I didn't understand any of it.' His logic and his linguistic application….. He has a strange logic which forced me to make a huge effort to understand him, but in any case we were friends and we got on well together. And he says 'Listen – he says – the undersecretary of state is coming and I would like to throw a bagful of shit on his head. Can I use the window in your room?' I refused because it seemed a little over the top to me: we were surrounded by policemen, both Italian and American, and we would have ended up in prison immediately.
In my view Pettena is still rather like that, because it seems to me that he is constantly throwing bagfuls of strange things. I don't know whether he became a professor at the school or not, but I do in fact remember one of his works, when he filled an American house with sludge, which after all is not so very different. And then we didn't see one another, we saw one another…Then there was the period of the so-called radical design, I think that there were these groups like Archizoom, etcetera, and we used to see one another, always full of great revolutionary desire, a great desire for renewal, and Pettena has always been one of the most exciting individuals, in speeches, in meetings.In other words, he was one of the most agitated and as a result I think that we have all always loved him very much and we continue to love him.