Through its 53 drawings (like building number 53 where Siza’s studio is located in Porto), the exhibition explores the qualities of human nature and design culture alike, revealing the indissoluble link between these two factors and the Portuguese architect’s most intimate sentiments as well as his remarkable talent for observation. Persons are always at the centre of Siza’s architecture. His buildings of space and light welcome human actions without ever neglecting the context in which they are inserted.
“Álvaro Siza. Viagem sem Programa”
6 June – 8 September, 2019
Santa Maria della Scala
Piazza del Duomo, 1, 53100 Siena
His drawings – created during pauses from his work or in the middle of a journey or a site inspection – describe the environment, the people, the customs and routines that are then found in his projects. His drawings stem from a compelling impulse, or as Siza says, “a mixture of pleasure and need” experienced as liberation, recollection and communication, doubt and discovery, clear pen strokes and idealization.
“There is a picture that more than any other has accompanied us in the development of this project. It was casually taken in the summer of 2005 outside the studio of the architect Álvaro Siza in Porto and it shows the entrance intercom of building number 53. That same snapshot – taken countless times by others before and after us – essentiality captures and conveys the story of strong professional relations and friendships. 53 Rua do Aleixo is in fact where some of the world’s top architects have, or once had, their studio.
“Viagem sem programa” was set up with a view to exploring the innermost aspects of Álvaro Siza’s architectural work and concept of life via the drawings he created and personally selected for the project. Today, we feel the same emotion we experienced during the first meetings in his studio. The feeling of discovering a cherished intimacy in the lines that compose the portraits dedicated to his family, or those that capture the happy, relaxed moments in the company of his closest friends, or then again those that describe the stone granaries called espigueiros that Siza advised us to visit at Soajo, the land of wild horses. Above all, we feel gratitude towards this great architect who, in 2010, accepted what at that time was simply a vague idea”.
“Álvaro Siza. Viagem sem Programa” is a unique work created for the official 2012 Venice Biennale. It includes a 60-year sequential journey of perspectives, dreams, images of loved ones, and strangers encountered during that period. Siza started drawing as a child sitting on his uncle’s lap “acquiring a taste for it” as he himself recalls, and since then he has never stopped. The 53 drawings that compose the collection, several of which are taken from his annotations and travel notebooks, shed light on his remarkable eidetic memory.
The drawings – created in his youth, during his travels from one end of the world to the other, at dinner parties with friends or moments free from “the burden of work” – disclose memoirs, observations, ironic attitudes and views concerning that extraordinary “Journey without a Plan”, which is life itself. The collection was compiled methodologically, with the purpose of creating a unique, unpublished work. First of all, via digital restoration aimed at retrieving the traits and marks of each drawing then transferring them on paper via single-use template silkscreen print type (fifty-three 1/1 prints authenticated by the author), in order to reveal the author’s progress in terms of technique and sensitivity in observing reality.