Gianni Pettena, a fellow traveller and friend of Robert Smithson and Gordon Matta-Clark, has investigated since the beginning the relationship between art and architecture and worked in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s both in Italy and in the US, in the deserts of South West as well as in the suburban fringes of Mid and Southwestern cities. Today, following the path traced in those years and using the same instruments, Pettena’ research, carried out by means of videos, installations, performances and architectures, can be defined as an architecture produced and worked out with the instruments of art and nature. An encyclopedia of statements on space, both theoretical and physical, helpful in understanding the world, between nature and artifice, in removing its conflicts so that, by stressing the role of intuition, nature can for once prevail through its rules, such as the sezione aurea system and the laws of space perception, translated into architecture. Pettena’s space finds again contemplation, awareness in observing nature, the presence of the past as education, the necessity of being critical and ironical with respect to a physical world where the presence of man can find suitability and agreement with nature, from which ‘behavioural’ rules are derived…The two exhibitions hold a dialogue between them and each supplements the other: two different spaces worked, read like a musical score, on which and in which tales narrated in the same language superimpose themselves…

Gianni Pettena (1940) founder in the late ’60s in Florence of the “radical architecture” movement together with Superstudio, Archizoom, UFO, in 1971 is invited in the USA as artist-in-residence at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and in 1972 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. In 1972 he also has his first one-man show, at John Weber Gallery in New York. In the following years he works both as an artist and a university teacher often investigating, through his activity as a critic, the relationships between the proposals of the younger generations and the heritage of the experimentation started in the ‘60s. He is the first “radical” architect to have a great anthological exhibition at the Frac Centre in Orléans (Gianni Pettena. Le métier de l’architecte, 2002) accompanied by a monography also published the following year in Italian/English by Silvana Editoriale (Gianni Pettena, 2003). Gianni Pettena’ s works, especially the ones of the so-called ‘American’ period, and his many visionary drawings which later often showed a prophetic reality, have by now a historical value both for their specificity and uniqueness within the radical experimentation of the Sixties and Seventies and for their influence on the world of contemporary architecture, art and design. His work was presented in important exhibitions, museums and national and international institutions such as the Venice Biennal, Mori Museum in Tokyo, PAC in Milan, Barbican Center in Londra, Gamec in Bergamo, Pompidou Centre in Paris and Metz, Berlin Biennal, Italian Pavillon at the 2010 Shangai Expo. In 2009 he had his first one-man show at the Enrico Fornello Gallery.