Exhibition "Archipelago", Pistoia, Palazzo Fabroni, 1999


Pettena acts here in the guise of critic as the curator of the exhibition Archipelago which integrated architectural drawings with artist's installations, design pieces with visions of settings by the teachers and young students involved in its preparation.  As the exhibit was to be mounted in the 16th-century Palazzo Fabroni in which the spaces, while large, were ill-suited to the theme owing to their excessive uniformity, he  intervened with a minimal act, the gesture of lifting off the plaster in each room, as if to create 'gills' that would allow the building to breathe the contemporary air of the present time. An idea that also harks back to some designs of Grass Architecture submitted to the Trigon Competition in Graz in 1971 in which the ground, and nature, seemed to merge with the very idea of architecture.