par Devos, Rika ;Pacchiani, Serena
Editeur scientifique Atkinson, Harriet;Clarkson, Verity;Lichtman, Sarah A.
Référence Exhibitions and Transnational Exchange: Art and Design, Borders and Boundaries from 1945, Bloomsbury, London, Ed. 1
Publication A Paraître, 2022
Partie d'ouvrage collectif
Résumé : Expo 58, the first post-WWII world’s fair (Brussels 1958), was presented and received as a celebration of post-war technological progress and a showcase of new power relations of an appeased world. The architecture of national pavilions, their scenography and exhibits were conceived as demonstrations of national identities aiming at an uninformed mass audience and presented a particular challenge for the former axis powers.The pavilion of Italy was surrounded by controversy from the early design phase onwards, leading to the formation of a single team of architects who were supposed to compete: BBPR studio (Lodovico Barbiano di Belgiojoso, Enrico Peresutti and Ernesto Rogers), Ignazio Gardella, Amedeo Luccichenti and Vincenzo Monaco (Rome), Giuseppe Perugini and Ludovico Quaroni. The concept also explicitly sought up controversy, positioning itself against the formalist structuralism of the fair and proposing an Italian cittadina. Organisational issues will even lead to the Italian organisers distancing themselves publically from the pavilion at its opening. This position puzzled architecture critics like Banham and Richards. While the position of the architects has already been discussed from the complex position of Rogers, who acted as a spokesperson to the group, the interior of the pavilion has largely escaped scrutiny so far and remained undiscussed at the time of the fair. It is, however, no less puzzling. While presenting itself as a post-war nation with a rich modern tradition and rising industry – including displays of Olivetti, Fiat, … - the interior of the pavilion set a peculiar mix of traditionalist architecture and modern details and furniture. Moreover, when considered in the recent history of Italian exhibitions, a striking continuity in the strategies of display and the mixing of the modern and heritage can be observed between this pavilion and the interwar shows staged by the fascist regime. It is telling that a considerable part of the coordination of the 1958 exhibition was done by Marcello Piacentini, even when his contribution was behind the screens only. It also remains unassessed till date.With this contribution, the authors propose to tackle a diversity of installations in the pavilion, taking into account also the architectural settings and concepts, exhibits and exhibition layout, choices of art works and their position in the show, etc. Based on archival documents, original graphic material and accounts in contemporary journals the chapter will assess a selection of exhibits, confronting their lay-out, content and presentation texts with of the “diplomatic” intentions of the organisers and the challenged positions of the designers in order to reveal a highly ambiguous tension between the image of a post-war modern European nation and a selection of objects and art work that recalls the mix of modern and classicist elements used in the representation of fascist Italy.