The True Locus
The project decontextualize famous buildings searching for their true “Locus” and their essence.
Who influences you graphically?
“Capriccio” have always attracted my interest.
It is the art of composing landscape through the free combination of real and fantastic architectural elements.
These architectural fantasies were used by important artists such as Goya and Piranesi (with his Ruins and his “Imaginary prisons”).
The most famous example is “The Architect’s Dream” by Thomas Cole (1840), who represented the most significant architectures of all periods of History side by side.
The human figure becomes very small and the comparison between the ages becomes the protagonist.
What is context for you?
The context is simply everything around us.
We often think that we can create things from nothing, but this is not true.
There is a multitude of factors that affects us; our choices are the result of a continuous process of confrontation (conscious or not) between us and the context.
Alvaro Siza says: “On Earth there are no deserts, there’s always something”.
So there is always a “Genius Loci”, the identity of the place, and we have to take it into consideration.
You explore the displacement of the monument into a new site but how would the site from where the monument is dislocated react? How could this parallel set of images reinforce and explore the thesis further?
The purpose of my collages, ironically called “Genius Disloci”, is to try to study in deep this relationship between Architecture and Context creating “capricci” that are combinations and contrasts between contemporary buildings and the art of the past, that becomes a new context.
The question is: “What would have happened if some of the most famous works of art had to cohabit with the architecture of our time?”
Some examples are quite concrete: a desolate and sublime landscape painted by Friedrich with the presence of a bridge made by Calatrava or The Shard as a colossal landmark in the sea of fog.
Others are absolutely fantasy: I imagined Brion Cemetery by Carlo Scarpa as a possible “Gate of Hell” in Dante’s Divine Comedy, Libeskind’s Denver Art Museum camouflages itself in Friedrich’s “Sea of Ice”, the “House of the Dead” in Modena, built by Aldo Rossi, finds its habitat in Böcklin’s “Isle of the Dead” and Fuksas’ Cloud is contained within the Pantheon drawn by Piranesi, showing the enormous contrast between the past and the present of Rome.
The works of art (that I consider as a new context for the buildings) are obviously “shocked” by the introduction of these new elements, but I believe that the results can be considered interesting.
The differences and the similarities between the elements of the past and the present become much more visible and evident if these elements are combined together and not studied separately.
What dictated the choice of monuments?
The combinations are quite spontaneous and come from the readings or from the interests of that precise moment.
For example, the idea for the collage about Carlo Scarpa’s Brion Cemetery was born after a trip to the monument where I connected its deep meaning about life and death to Dante’s Poem and the insertion of the “Death of the Virgin”, painted by Mantegna, in a Favela was suggested by a long lecture about urban sprawl.
How do you form and store your archive of images? What are the main resources and method of search?
I save on my computer everything I find interesting and inspiring, and this allows me to have a large archive of images that i can use for my photomontages and postproductions.
Obviously Internet is the main research tool, but books and architecture magazines are often required to find appropriate images.
Photoshop makes the process of creating collages very quick and undemanding…I consider it a good way to think about Architecture.
Valerio Recchioni is an Italian architecture student at the University of Ferrara, Italy. He specialises in architectural composition and is fond of drawing and art in all its forms.