“Rationalism on Set” Glamour and Modernity in 1930s Italian Cinema

This exhibition explores a little-known period of Italian cinematic history, highlighting the strong Modernist influence apparent in the set designs created for a number of romantic comedies during the inter-war years.

 

"Rationalism on Set" © Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art

“Rationalism on Set” © Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art

 

A selection of vintage photographs will be complemented by film clips, sketches and contemporary periodicals sourced from the Cineteca Nazionale, Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia (Rome), the Cineteca di Bologna, the Museo Nazionale del Cinema (Turin) and the RIBA Collections. Rationalism on Set runs at London’s Estorick Collection from 18 April until 24 June 2018.


 

Practical information

“Rationalism on Set”
18 April – 24 June, 2018
Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art
39A Canonbury Square, London
UK

 


Until recently, Italy’s contributions to architecture and cinema in the 1930s have been overlooked. The exhibition will look at the role played by Italian architects and architectural culture in the development of a Modernist aesthetic for film sets of the 1930s, which was increasingly adopted in contemporary films, largely due to the production company Cines, which sought to raise the quality of Italian cinema after a period of decline in the 1920s.

 

Gastone Medin, set design for ‘Due Cuori Felici’ with Rita Franchetti and Vittorio De Sica (Two Happy Hearts, Baldassarre Negroni, 1932, ph: CMNdC)

Gastone Medin, set design for ‘Due Cuori Felici’ with Rita Franchetti and Vittorio De Sica (Two Happy Hearts, Baldassarre Negroni, 1932, ph: CMNdC)

Gastone Medin, set design for ‘Due Cuori Felici’ with Rita Franchetti and Vittorio De Sica (Two Happy Hearts, Baldassarre Negroni, 1932, ph: CMNdC)

Gastone Medin, set design for ‘Due Cuori Felici’ with Rita Franchetti and Vittorio De Sica (Two Happy Hearts, Baldassarre Negroni, 1932, ph: CMNdC)

 

Many architects recognised the powerful role that cinema could play in popularising modern architecture; some, like Giuseppe Capponi, got personally involved with set design, while others, such as the editors of Casabella and Domus, vocally supported their colleagues’ efforts to reflect in film settings the latest developments in architecture and to ‘educate’ the public by familiarising them with modern design.

 

Gastone Medin, set design for ‘Due Cuori Felici’ (Two Happy Hearts, Baldassarre Negroni, 1932, ph: att Aurelio Pesce, FCSdC-CN)

Gastone Medin, set design for ‘Due Cuori Felici’ (Two Happy Hearts, Baldassarre Negroni, 1932, ph: att Aurelio Pesce, FCSdC-CN)

"Rationalism on Set" © Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art

“Rationalism on Set” © Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art

 

These modern sets were often photographed prior to filming, and it is these photographs – which could be easily confused with the images of real interiors published by contemporary architectural journals – that will be on display, together with clips from the most significant films. Comparing them with images of contemporary architecture from the RIBA Collections will highlight influences such as that of the Bauhaus, and reveal the international rather than local character of these films’ Modernist aesthetic.

 

Carlo Levi and Enrico Paulucci’s set design for ‘Patatrac’ (Gennaro Righelli, 1931, ph: Collezione Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Turin)

Carlo Levi and Enrico Paulucci’s set design for ‘Patatrac’ (Gennaro Righelli, 1931, ph: Collezione Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Turin)

"Rationalism on Set" © Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art

“Rationalism on Set” © Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art

Gastone Medin, set design for ‘La Casa del Peccato’ (The House of Sin, Max Neufeld with Assia Norris and Umberto Melnati, 1938, ph: att Aurelio Pesce, Fondazione Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia – Cineteca Nazional)

Gastone Medin, set design for ‘La Casa del Peccato’ (The House of Sin, Max Neufeld with Assia Norris and Umberto Melnati, 1938, ph: att Aurelio Pesce, Fondazione Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia – Cineteca Nazional)


 

News source: Estorick Collection
Subscribe here to get weekly updates about architecture events and exhibitions.