On the occasion of the centenary of the birth of Leonardo Ricci, a leading figure in the Italian architectural scene of the Second World War, the former Refectory of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, Italy hosts the exhibition LEONARDO RICCI 100. Writing, painting and architecture: 100 side notes on the Anonymous (20th Century). Together with archive materials from the CSAC in Parma, the works conserved in the architect’s home-studio in Monterinaldi are exhibited for the first time. Expressionist sketches, paintings with a strong material and figurative impact, fragments of mosaic compositions, period photographs and models of the projects are paired with architectural drawings, in a collage that allows one to shed light on aspects of Ricci’s work that have not yet been investigated, through different levels of aesthetic expression.
Video/audio documents and magazine excerpts contribute to making comprehensible a multifaceted but deeply organic message, masterfully translated by Ricci also through the written form. The result is an amazing overview of the wealth of theoretical research, artistic production and design activities of Leonardo Ricci, writer, painter and architect. The visitor will be guided by excerpts from Anonymous (20th Century), an existentialist book written by Ricci in the United States in 1957, “not a learned book for specialists but open to all,” as its author called it. Divided into sixteen sections, like the sixteen chapters of the book, the exhibition offers an open, varied yet profoundly organic path that mixes the textures of the disciplines practiced by Leonardo Ricci, to show the underlying links and interference.
The sections thus mimic the openness of his thought and mix works from different periods and different backgrounds, collecting, instead of cataloging, his production, in which the boundaries between disciplines are blurred. The sections thus become possible keys to interpretation that help to understand the man who in Florence had taken the teachings of Giovanni Michelucci (one of the most famous Florentine architects of the 20th century) and had mixed them with those of Classical Abstractionism. The man who had met Albert Camus, Jean Paul Sartre and Le Corbusier in Paris and who had then gone as far as North America, where he had been familiar with the practices of Action Painting.
For each chapter, a series of works from different disciplines are selected, joined by some particularly significant excerpts from the text. The attribution of the projects to the different chapters is functional to a complex and inclusive reading, which does not follow the principle of the list but of the open discourse. The visit itinerary is therefore not intended to be linear and brings together works that are profoundly different in terms of form of expression, time, intended use and scale of intervention, yet close for reasons of meaning. The same method used by Ricci in his writing: the themes are approached or contrasted without following a systematic order but with a process that the author defines as “logical”: not a search for a priori justifications, only the simple and incessant desire to find relationships between the things that exist and establish new ones. Source and images Courtesy of Image MEDIA AGENCY.
- Location: Ex-Refettorio di Santa Maria Novella, Piazza della Stazione 6, Firenze, Italy
- Curators: Ugo Dattilo, Maria Clara Ghia, Clementina Ricci
- Direction and general coordination: Andrea Aleardi
- Scientific direction: Maria Clara Ghia
- Scientific committee: Aldo Colonetti, Claudia Conforti, Antonella Greco, Giovanni Leoni, Giovanna Uzzani
- Direction and coordination of the research group: Ilaria Cattabriga
- Research group: Loreno Arboritanza, Pietro Carafa, Anna Ghiraldini, Margherita Monica
- Text selection and development: Maria Clara Ghia
- Archive documents selection: Maria Clara Ghia, Ilaria Cattabriga, Pietro Carafa
- Search and selection of materials and archive images and Editing: Pietro Carafa
- Exhibition design: Eutropia Architettura
- Graphic design: Laboratorio Comunicazione e Immagine at DIDA – Department of Architecture of the University of Florence
- Construction of the exhibition: Machina
- Paints: Toscana Vernici
- Light design: Light Company
- Promoter: Comitato Nazionale per le Celebrazioni del Centenario di Leonardo Ricci
- Collaboration: Comune di Firenze, DIDA-Dipartimento di Architettura dell’Università degli Studi di Firenze, CSAC-Centro Studi e Archivio della Comunicazione dell’Università degli Studi di Parma, Fondazione Giovanni Michelucci, Fondazione Architetti Firenze
- Dates: 13 April – 26 May 2019
- Photographs: Archivio Fotografico Fondazione Giovanni Michelucci, Dario Borruto, Andrea Ricci, Ricardo Scofidio