Mario Botta: Architecture and Memory
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
Through July 25, 2014
The architect Mario Botta is known for his postmodern or idiosyncratic country houses, churches, and institutional buildings in the Ticino region of Switzerland and Europe. He actually worked in the studio of Le Corbusier as a young man and his work is clearly indebted to Carlo Scarpa and, like many Italian architects of his generation, Louis Kahn. He has workedthroughout his career in a small regional outpost of Lugano and has stood against the mainstream of modern, commercial and avant-garde ideas and trends and produced buildings that can only be called “Bottan.”
In 2005, he told Guardian writer Jonathan Glancy that architecture “is a way of resisting the loss of identity, a way of resisting the banalisation, the flattening of culture brought about by the consumerism so typical of modern society. In this sense, architecture is more an ethical than an aesthetic phenomenon.” Botta has described his own buildings as “post-antique” in an attempt to step outside of postmodernism.
His singular approach and style can be seen in San Francisco where he designed the SFMOMA in 1994, a commission he won in a competition that included Frank Gehry. In 2010, Botta completed a second American project, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Museum has just opened Mario Botta: Architecture and Memory, an exhibition on the Swiss architect’s career. There are more than 200 objects on view in the gallery including letters and sketches by architects and others who have influenced Botta. Included in this “Encounters” section are artworks from the Bechtler collection created by artists who have inspired Botta such as Alberto Giacometti, Jean Tinguely, Alexander Calder, and Pablo Picasso.
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