At GAMeC, the only Italian exhibition of a travelling project already hosted at the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht and Archizoom, École politechnique fédérale in Lausanne

From 6 April to 24 July 2016, GAMeC is pleased to host the exhibition Aldo Rossi. The window of the poet – Prints 1973-1997, which brings together the graphic works of the famous architect and designer (1931–1997).

Staged by the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht in collaboration with the Fondazione Aldo Rossi in Milano for the twentieth anniversary of the opening of the new Bonnefantenmuseum, built by Rossi between 1990 and 1995, the exhibition is part of a travelling project that involves three venues: in addition to the Dutch museum (26 June–15 November 2015), it is being staged at Archizoom, the exhibition space of the École politechnique fédérale de Lausanne (29 February–24 March 2016), and GAMeC in Bergamo.

The exhibition, curated by Ton Quik, features 100 prints by the Italian artist and architect – from the Bonnefantenmuseum collection and private collections – alongside 40 paintings and drawings, and several sketches and plates used to produce the works.

The chronological-thematic itinerary opens with prints from the Seventies, etchings in black and white on which analytical studies are based – such as Il grande cimitero di Modena, Le due città and the various Composizioni urbane – as well as objects of affection, as seen in L’architettura domestica, where among the architectural works we find the first studies for the coffeepots Rossi later designed for Alessi. Among the prints from the Eighties, there are architectural studies such as The Lighthouse, experimentations on the theme of fragments – also in the project entitled Fragments – and Rossi’s two famous analogical works: Il Teatro del Mondo, the subject of five prints ranging between technical and “mental” representations, and La città analoga, which was the subject of a study for a multimedia project by Dario Rodighiero, scientific collaborator of the École politechnique fédérale in Lausanne.
Lastly, there are the works from the Nineties, which present different themes and subjects, not all of which strictly tied to architecture – like Il caffè del Mattino, the first print of a domestic scene – alongside compositional capriccios like Geometrie Romane and Il pesce d’oro, the last work Rossi saw to completion.

In some cases, the graphic works are set alongside their sketches as well as the production plates and the variations of the same subject. The exhibition thus offers visitors references on Rossi’s workmanship process and an introduction to his “analogical” thought. His prints highlight a fascinating relationship between one-off and multiple pieces, conceptually tied to his idea of architecture as a modus operandi in which the process is at least as important as the product.

The various subjects presented in the exhibition are connected by Rossi’s ability to use multiple printing techniques. Rossi was not a graphics purist, but continually explored the new possibilities offered by the various techniques in use; his Opera Grafica covers the entire range of 20th-century graphic techniques: engravings, etchings, woodcuts, lithographs, serigraphs and offsets.

Rossi’s production demonstrates an unconventional reaction to internal impulses, such as personal reflection and technical experimentation, and external ones, including relationships with friends and collaborators. Rossi was able to merge the professional aspects of architectural representation with his poetic and personal imagery, and his prints offer an individual look at the architect’s world: the poet’s window that inspired the title of the exhibition – The window of the poet (La finestra del poeta) – and that represented one of his favourite subjects.