press release

Gio Ponti
Loving architecture
November 27, 2019–April 13, 2020

Love architecture, be it ancient or modern. Love it for its fantastic, adventurous and solemn creations; for its inventions; for the abstract, allusive and figurative forms that enchant our spirit and enrapture our thoughts. Love architecture, the stage and support of our lives. -Gio Ponti

Architect, designer, art director, writer, poet and critic, Gio Ponti was an all-round artist who traversed much of the 20th century, profoundly influencing the taste of his time, responding to its most significant demands and anticipating many of the themes of contemporary architecture.

Forty years on from his passing, MAXXI - National Museum of 21st Century Arts, is devoting a major retrospective to this exceptional figure. The exhibition examines and presents his multi-faceted career, starting with an account of his architecture, a unique and original synthesis of tradition and modernity, history and progress, elite culture and quotidian existence.

The exhibition title, GIO PONTI. Loving architecture echoes that of his best-known book, Amate l’architettura. Curated by Maristella Casciato and Fulvio Irace with Margherita Guccione, Salvatore Licitra and Francesca Zanella, the show will be hosted in MAXXI’s stunning gallery 5 from November 27, 2019 to April 13, 2020 and has been produced by MAXXI in collaboration with CSAC - Centro Studi e Archivio della Comunicazione of the Parma University, which conserves Gio Ponti’s professional archive, and the Gio Ponti Archives.

The exhibition is the fruit of painstaking research that has aimed to update our understanding of the figure of Ponti, the architect, highlighting a number of the guiding issues underlying his long career and his extraordinary ability to foreshadow the spaces and concepts of contemporary architectural practice. His aspiration towards verticality and lightness through the dematerialization of facades, his conception of a green city in which nature returns to playing a vital role in the agenda of planning and architecture, as well as designing flexible domestic spaces, capable of adapting to the demands of their users, are without doubt themes that, over half a century ago, anticipated with unique clarity the concerns of the present-day.

The exhibition layout is immersive and spectacular, suggesting the master’s idea of space: fluid, dynamic and colourful. In the museum lobby, visitors are welcomed by a powerful installation of monumental Alcantara banners, hanging the full height of Zaha Hadid’s spaces which reproduce the stylized facades of skyscrapers, evoking the skyline of an imaginary Pontian city.

On display are archive materials, models, photographs, books, magazines and design classics closely associated with his architectural projects and organized into eight sections evoking critical concepts expressed by Ponti himself.

Forma Edizioni publishes the catalogue, edited by Maristella Casciato and Fulvio Irace. It is a dual edition in Italian and English, consisting of 300 pages, 150 illustrations, and texts by 45 authors including Giorgio Ciucci, Barry Bergdoll, Domitilla Dardi, Anat Falbel, Farhan Karim, Jorge Rivas, Règean Legault, Bernard Colembrader and Alessandra Muntoni.