Spain Book


Text by Federico Luger

I realized the series of works between June and August 2011.
That summer, I was staying at Gianni Pettena's house at the Isola d'Elba. Gianni is part of a very interesting group of architects-artists that created the movement of Italian Radical Architecture (Architettura Radicale) in the Seventies. He showed at John Weber Gallery in New York at the time, he was friends with Robert Matta-Clark and Robert Smithson, he is a not very well known member of the Land Art movement, but the Utah Museum will dedicated him a great show in July 2013...And he also wrote L'anarchitetto (1973), a book that became a cult document among architects. I represent him.
The photographs that I used to develop this series of works come from a book that Paolo Minerbi gave me as a present. Minerbi is a Milanese architect who restructured my gallery in Domodossola Street in 2009. His grandfather commissioned some pieces of furniture to architect Piero Bottoni (1903-1973) which have been exhibited at the Triennale di Milano and at the Guggenheim Museum in New York because they are considered to have been of great inspiration to what we currently know as "Italian design". Paolo Minerbi had this furniture at home; and one day, while he was tiding up, he found a book from the Sixties on Spanish castles, it probably belonged to his mother, given that she was from Spanish origins. As the book was written in Spanish he gave it to me. This moment also coincided with the beginning of my friendship with Gianni Pettena through gallerist Enrico Fornello. All this happened in 2010.
I started painting on the pages of the book, which are almost 200. The inspiration for this work comes from different sources; but in summary, it represents an imaginary journey realized by André Cadere (1934-1978) through Spain, in architectonic spaces reinvented through painting...I identify a lot with André Cadere's work...! I came to know his oeuvre thanks to François Michaud, who gave me a monographic book that he had written in occasion of Cadere's exhibition at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. He belonged to the group of conceptual artists, but he was always an outsider, he considered himself a marginal artist, greatly due to the fact that he openly questioned the limits of the art system, but he wouldn't accept the complete annihilation of the artistic object, as the "purest" conceptualists expected.
I not only painted on the book's pages, I also photocopied Cadere's image walking on some of them. It is a sort of architectonic pilgrimage in which the existing architecture inspires new spaces through lights and shades.
Each painting / page is 25,5 x 30,5 cm. Some of the pages are worn out and others literally in pieces.