Text by Domus. Arch and Art aims to document the transversal link that unites a work of architecture and a work of art, and vice versa. Architecture and art have always both contributed to shaping and creating the places and spaces in which humans go about their lives. In our recent past, however, these two disciplines have been separated by an increasing distance. Swaying between autonomy and infringements of their domains, they have in fact abandoned working side by side, ceasing to offer us those magnificent masterpieces that we were used to seeing them produce in the past. These considerations have fuelled the desire to do something tangible today that can reunite art and architecture after their long estrangement.
“Arch and Art”
Assolombarda Confindustria Milano Monza e Brianza
Realized by Domus in collaboration with La Triennale
2 April – 12 September 2016
Triennale Gardens – Viale Emilio Alemagna, 6
With the intention of demonstrating this sort of “contamination” between the two fields, five architects and five artists have been united in pairs and invited to design five architectural pavilions, each conceived to contain a single work of art. In this way, ten masters of architecture and contemporary art – David Chipperfield and Michelangelo Pistoletto; Michele De Lucchi and Enzo Cucchi; Hans Kollhoff and Mimmo Paladino; Eduardo Souto de Moura and Jannis Kounellis; Francesco Venezia and Ettore Spalletti – have joined forces to create a space of freedom in which the two disciplines can once again have a point of encounter, openly and respectfully engaging each other without invasions, yet nonetheless asserting their raison d’être through what they create.
DAVID CHIPPERFIELD / MICHELANGELO PISTOLETTO
The Domus Pavilion project was an opportunity to commit an architect and an artist to a conversation. Based on the shared conviction that it is more of an opportunity for art than architecture, Michelangelo Pistoletto and David Chipperfield’s aim was to develop a large piece of art rather than a small piece of architecture. Nevertheless, it is created from a collaboration of ideas between the two disciplines, playing with what they share and how they differ.
The true protagonist of the Domus Pavilion project is duality, namely the duality of the physical and the metaphysical. The design for the Pavilion starts from the concept of two volumes, one inside the other with a gap left between the two like a Russian doll. At first glance, the form and materiality are those of an archetypal representation of a house: a pitched roof, red brick exterior, white plastered interior, windows openings and a door.
On closer inspection, however, one notices that the walls, door and windows of each volume have been purposefully misaligned, and the top of the roof is off centre. Though this roof is made of thin iron sheet reminiscent of a make-shift shed, including the extension cantilevering over the entrance, an oculus perforates through both volumes and undermines its capacity to shelter. The space of tension between both volumes – expressed like a cavity wall construction – and the intentional misalignment expose the inner volume and recognise the independent abstract form of the inner ‘artist’s house’.
EDUARDO SOUTO DE MOURA / JANNIS KOUNELLIS
The image of the pavilion, the concept with which we began, is based on a wooden box used for the transportation of works of art, and this is in effect what houses the installation by the artist Jannis Kounellis. The box has been lined inside to cover up the joints and create a continuous surface, which has been painted lemon yellow on the request of the artist.
The entrance is indirect, blind, built in such a way that from outside one cannot see what is within, and vice versa. The proportions of the construction accentuate its verticality, a physical and mental condition of Western people.
FRANCESCO VENEZIA / ETTORE SPALLETI
This project was originally destined for the Giardino della Guastalla, and has now ended up in the Parco della Triennale. Although the trees are now different, it has maintained its original form almost intact: a small pavilion to pass through, located at the end of a pathway protected by a wall. Against the wall, a long seat offers a moment’s rest. The small pavilion has no true door. A full-height section of the wall opens slightly inwards. Here, in the half-light, a “chapel” slightly detached from the main construction – a capsule of bright light – houses Ettore Spalletti’s work.
A tall, narrow opening on the opposite side from the entrance leads back to the park outside. The material nature of the construction expresses its transitory character. It is constructed almost completely out of sheets of wood with the insertion of a part made in panels of travertine as a trace of the perpetual aspiration that leads wooden architecture to petrify. Only the exterior of the “chapel” is entirely cladded in travertine, denoting its role.
HANS KOLLHOFF / MIMMO PALADINO
In the garden of Schloss Schwetzingen, near Heidelberg, there is a marvellous feature that has impressed me since I was a student. It’s called The End of the World, and it’s the view through a dark tunnel of hedging of a painted landscape, illuminated from above and seemingly far away. It is the romantic view from a grotto towards infinity, the view of Caspar David Friedrich, the view of Karl Friedrich Schinkel on his first visit to Italy.
It is also Le Corbusier’s view of the serapeum at Hadrian’s Villa, which was to become important for Ronchamp. A hemisphere captures light and reveals the work of art to visitors emerging from the darkness. The work of art, the space and the people blend together in indissoluble unity beneath the daylight falling from above. Does contemporary art take place differently? Here it can be experienced like this.
MICHELE DE LUCCHI / ENZO CUCCHI
Chimney flues have something magical about them. It is easy to imagine that hot air rises but it is always a surprise to feel the draught created and rising up by expansion. It is such a simple, pleasant and natural effect that it makes one think that it is possible to enjoy all the marvels of nature without imposing presumptuous acts of force that prove to be expensive and inefficient.
This is a nine-metre-tall chimney, a wind-tower, an unusual smokestack built to house four pieces in terracotta by Enzo Cucchi held up by metal brackets. Its lower section is conical, and the upper part is cylindrical. It creates a portico of three columns pointed at the base. It is not a conventional space. It is not even clear if it is open or closed, whether it exposes or protects. It is a space for reflection, a space containing artwork that stimulates in-depth thinking, a seeking of the meaning of our existence, our permanence and our temporality.