Gianni Pettena—Forgiven by Nature

La Verrière


Gianni Pettena, Architecture Forgiven by Nature, 2017, permanent installation, Brufa (Perugia, Italy), courtesy of the artist and Salle Principale, Paris © Studio Gianni Pettena
From January 15, 2021 until March 13, 2021
For the sixth exhibition in the series “Matters of Concern | Matières à panser”, curator Guillaume Désanges presents “Forgiven by Nature”, a solo exhibition by Italian artist and architect Gianni Pettena, to be held at La Verrière – the Brussels art space of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès – and ISELP*, from January 15 to March 13, 2021.
With his roots in the Florentine scene, Gianni Pettena is a leading member of the Radical Architecture movement (including groups such as Archizoom, Superstudio and UFO), founded in Italy in 1965 to rethink the foundational principles of architecture, and to critique their normalisation and dominance in practice. The movement sought to challenge the ‘imperative to build’, and to replace it with conceptual, artistic alternatives: free-thinking, imaginative new ways to live in the world.
For Gianni Pettena, especially, this re-visioning of the principles of his discipline was expressed as a quest for the ‘primal roots’ of architecture, based on open and mindful observation of nature, both wild and tamed. At the beginning of the 1970s, his journeys through the deserts of the American south-west defined the bedrock of a personal output that was both concrete and reflective, material and ideal. This awareness of the ‘natural’ architectural potential of ecosystems untouched by Western industrialised culture gave rise to numerous solo and group projects, installations, actions, performances and designs, together with sculptures, films and texts, both theory-based and intuitive, some of which were realised, others not: the key elements of his uncategorisable, highly original work. As an architect who does not build, an artist who makes nothing, Pettena’s diverse practices are nonetheless underpinned by a coherent matrix of forms and concerns.
Gianni Pettena, Human Wall, 2012, installation, Federico Luger (FL Gallery), Milan (Italy), courtesy of the artist and Salle Principale, Paris © Antonio Maniscalco
Gianni Pettena, Paper (Midwestern Ocean), 1971, performance-installation, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis (United States), courtesy of the artist and Salle Principale, Paris © Studio Gianni Pettena
Gianni Pettena, “Rumble” couch, 1967, courtesy of the artist and Salle Principale, Paris © Aurelio Amendola
Gianni Pettena, About Non-Conscious Architecture, 1972–1973, photographic series, courtesy of the artist and Salle Principale, Paris © Studio Gianni Pettena
View of the Gianni Pettena exhibition, ‘‘Forgiven by Nature’’, 2021, La Verrière, Brussels © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Detail of the Gianni Pettena exhibition, ‘‘Forgiven by Nature’’, 2021, La Verrière, Brussels © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Gianni Pettena, Breathing Architecture, 2012-2017, installation, wood, La Verrière, Brussels © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
View of the Gianni Pettena exhibition, ‘‘Forgiven by Nature’’, 2021, La Verrière, Brussels © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Gianni Pettena, Paesaggi della memoria (detail), 1987, sand, plexiglass, light, variable dimensions, La Verrière, Brussels © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Gianni Pettena, Human wall, 2012, clay, wire and wood, La Verrière, Brussels © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Gianni Pettena, Marea (Thames Tide), 1974, black and white photographs, 80x67,5cm, La Verrière, Brussels © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Gianni Pettena, Paper (Midwestern Ocean), performance-installation, 1971-2021, ISELP, Brussels © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Gianni Pettena, Paper (Midwestern Ocean), performance-installation, 1971-2021, ISELP, Brussels © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès
Gianni Pettena, Paper (Midwestern Ocean), performance-installation, 1971-2021, ISELP, Brussels © Isabelle Arthuis / Fondation d’entreprise Hermès