A highly-anticipated exhibition, this Milan show is an official returnby Steven Holl in Italy, after a solo show at the Galleria AAM in Rome in 1981, and focuses on his signature style: watercolor. About thirty works in all, in addition to the watercolors, the show includes project sketches, limited edition furnishings and sculptures, some of which clearly trace back to the strong bond between Steven Holl and Italy.
“One Two Five – Steven Holl”
April 18 – June 27, 2018
Galleria Antonia Jannone
Corso Garibaldi, 125
A bond formed when Holl moved to Rome in 1970 to continue his studies, thanks to a scholarship awarded after he graduated from the University of Washington. The selected drawings – a fundamental tool for Steven Holl, both in presenting a concept and in its development – narrate eight projects, some unrealized, all filled with the extraordinarily expressive and poetic quality of his unique style.
The relationship between Steven Holl and Italy was therefore segmented and parallel until 2015, when the architect received the Honorary Degree in Architecture from the Milan Polytechnic. In that occasion, Steven Holl and Marco Sammicheli know and sprout the idea of “doing something together” in Italy. Next April, this idea curatorSammicheli itself will become an absolutely unmissable event. The presentation at the Galleria Jannone is the distinguishing note of a small anecdote: Steven Holl had already met Antonia Jannone, as a visitor, forty years ago in the space of Corso Garibaldi. They had promised to find themselves one day.
Today a circle seems to close with ONE TWO FIVE, a title full of symbolism. A reference to Holl’s daughter, who is two years old and she is learning to count, the formal studies of Michelangelo and Picasso that are taken by the architect in his sculptures. But 125 is also the civic number of the Galleria in Corso Garibaldi in Milan.
Partners of the project are: CooperativaCavatoriBotticino – extraction and manufacturing of marble, Fratelli Garletti – Smart Hinge System, Linearstone – your customized marble, Pimar – extraction and manufacturing of natural limestone, Quadro – stainless steel design taps. Installation site specific in the courtyard: art direction Stevan Tesic and Milena Veljkovic (di_archon_assarchitetti)
Text by Marco Sammicheli. One Two Five is the name of an art show where the act of creating is a primary and continuousprocess. The visceral drive to count, measure, and explore, perhaps by overlooking the figures or skipping them to retrace a sequence, is nothing other than an instrument for thought and investigation. Over his forty years plus of activity, and two hundred and fifty projects, seventy of which located world-wide, every building ever created by Steven Holl was conceived, studied and configured from an initial drawing – usually a watercolor sketch on standard 127mm high x 177.8mm widespiral-bound paper pad.
About thirty thousand of these drawings exist today, andare stored in his New York studio. These lively renderings combine light, space, color, and just a few words to define the concept. Although many ideas illustrated in these watercolorsdid not become a reality, all drawingseffectively demonstrate architect Holl’s daily creative process and approach to summarizing thoughts, and solutions.
Steven Holl does not overlook the role of digital technology in the project development and representation. He does not stigmatize it, ordeem it indispensable. To him it’s an intermediary tool, secondary to the drawing, which defines, composes,and communicates his concept. No computer is yet able to perform these actions. Only drawing allows Holl to find the wealth of nuances and possibilities required by the creative architectural process, from concept to realization. Holl takes a seemingly meditative approach to action – perhaps unconsciously replicating Saint Ignatius’ exercises, as Jesuits practice more than one method (“different methods have helped different people”) – by which several elements eventually combine to form a single entity.
To that effect, in reference to the construction of Saint Ignatius’ Chapel for the University of Seattle (Washington, 1994-1997) – a project that marked my introduction to Steven Holl’s work through the famous watercolor “7 bottles of light in a brick box”, similar to Le Corbusier’s canons à lumière – architectural historian Kenneth Frampton (Electa, 2002-2009) wrote: “Holl’s imagination permeates the building itself, as it goes beyond researching combinations of different architectural elementsto establish a tectonic that, although subtly, is expressed by the technologies and tactile character of the materials used”.