PETTENA - ARNOLFO DIALOGUE
Setting up of the "Masaccio Prize" exhibition, S. Giovanni Valdarno, 1968
A camouflage, a “diagonal” interpretation of a Renaissance building attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio. The project functions as an invasion of the spaces of the galleries: the differentiation-contradistinction of the surfaces and materials, with their rules and proportions, produces almost a lesson of architecture that, for once, teaches us to read the building as a sequence of façades as well: closing up the empty spaces of the portico and the galleries, and installing the exhibition in these spaces, created an opportunity for people to perceive the volume as a whole and then, when the exhibition was dismantled several months later, to restore their original perception of the place.
The exhibition was laid out inside the portico and the galleries, whose spaces had been deliberately “devitalized,” as the description at the time made clear: “The result sought was the devitalization of the portico. While on the inside the use of plain black was sufficient to establish an abstract relationship between the work and the wall, on the outside the simplicity of black no longer appeared adequate to produce the habitual dark depth. The ambiguity has been removed by giving the outer surface a strange theatricality that does not permit any kind of aside with the language of the Renaissance.”