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Beyond Environment explores the potent interchange between architecture, Land Art, and Performance Art that emerged through Italian architect Gianni Pettena’s collaboration with American artists Allan Kaprow and Robert Smithson in the 1970s. Captivated by a journey to the USA in 1971, Pettena’s About Non Conscious Architecture series would converse with the American Midwest, a conversation culminating in his meeting with Robert Smithson in Salt Lake City. Earlier, while in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Pettena’s experiments in material transformations helped create some of architect’s most iconic works. Staged in Minneapolis in an abandoned school and in a non-descriptive suburban house, and titled Ice House I and II, Pettena would pour water into the mold works he created around the buildings’ perimeter walls. Curing during the winter night to a coat of ice, the houses resonated with their conceptual predecessor, Kaprow’s Fluids of 1967, as well as with a newer contemporary architectural sensibly concerned with the effects of variedly compounded, highly eidetic architectural surfaces.
Beyond Environment combines approximately thirty works by Pettena, Kaprow, Smithson, as well as from Pettena’s Florentine milieu, that of Superarchitecture and the Italian “Radical” groups UFO, Superstudio, and 9999. Competitors are asked to reconsider Pettena-Kaprow-Smithson’s art-architecture complex using contemporary technologies and materials. An exhibition of selected proposals will be hosted concurrently at the WUHO Gallery.
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