Yona Friedman in Rome - The MAXXI Special - Domus

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Special

Yona Friedman, MAXXI Spatial (2017), Courtesy Yona Friedman. Photo Francesco Radino
 

Yona Friedman in Rome

On show at MAXXI are works by the visionary and poetic architect of modernity, including his Ville Spatiale, exported to Rome, along with other previously unseen and original material.

 

The MAXXI Special

A polyhedric machine for the production and dissemination of design culture, MAXXI provides the stage for an important exhibition focussed on a prominent figure of the international architectural scene.

“Yona Friedman. Mobile Architecture, People’s Architecture” is a major monographic exhibition curated by Gong Yan and Elena Motisi dedicated to the Hungarian-born architect of French adoption: one of the most visionary and disruptive figures of design culture between the last two centuries. The exhibition is accompanied by a publication (Quaderni del Centro Archivi del MAXXI Architettura) with essays by Hou Hanru, Gon Yang, Manuel Orazi and a previously unpublished interview by Elena Motisi

Img.1 “Yona Friedman. Mobile Architecture, People’s Architecture”, MAXXI, Roma 2017. Courtesy Fondazione MAXXI

Top: Yona Friedman, MAXXI Spatial (2017), Courtesy Yona Friedman. Photo Francesco Radino. Above: Img.1 “Yona Friedman. Mobile Architecture, People’s Architecture”, exhibition view, MAXXI, Rome 2017. Courtesy Fondazione MAXXI


Organised by the Power Station of Art in Shanghai, where it was presented in 2015, the exhibition comes to MAXXI in a new guise, specially conceived together with Friedman. According to Friedman – who in 2016 came up with a modular structure that seemed to be drawn in mid-air for the Serpentine Gallery in London – anyone can design and build their own architecture using simple and flexible mobile structures, from the home to “spatial cities” that float above real cities. For the MAXXI exhibition the famous Ville Spatiale (1958/62) comes to Rome, the central theme of Friedman’s work: an aerial grid on the territory, with corridors and houses designed by the inhabitants. The work is reproduced for this exhibition in a large model nine metres long, forming a dialogue with some previously unpublished visions dedicated to the city and to MAXXI, created for this occasion. With respect to the one at Shanghai, the Rome exhibition sees the addition of additional original material that explores the central themes of Friedman’s work, such as the importance of education to the creative and construction process and the relationship with “those who inhabit the city”, that thanks to the tools provided by the architect can autonomously construct their own habitat.

Img.2 “Yona Friedman. Mobile Architecture, People’s Architecture”, MAXXI, Roma 2017

Img.2 “Yona Friedman. Mobile Architecture, People’s Architecture”, exhibition view, MAXXI, Roma 2017. Courtesy Fondazione MAXXI


At MAXXI numerous original drawings from the 1960s will also be on show, Friedman’s mobile and ‘improvised’ structures along with instructions on how to build them, photomontages, videos and a selection of his animations, including a large mural that reproduces one of the architect’s drawings: a dot that asks another “Can I be with you” and the other replies: “You’re welcome!”. A simple and playful vision of architecture – and thus of society – inclusive, democratic, self-managed. Friedman believed that the contemporary museum has to show what is truly important for people so he created a Street Museum, designed to hold 16 objects of the people, chosen as being significant for them and displayed in showcases in the structure, becoming “works of art”. A demonstration of how the democratisation of museums can occur only in the moment in which people are given the possibility to show what is truly important to them.

Img.3 “Yona Friedman. Mobile Architecture, People’s Architecture”, MAXXI, Rome 2017

Img.3 “Yona Friedman. Mobile Architecture, People’s Architecture”, exhibition view, MAXXI, Rome 2017. Courtesy Fondazione MAXXI


Among the other works on show: Griboulli (1980/95), an irregular mass of metal cables conceived as a construction system, Rod Net Structure (1970) made up of rigid rods connected by joints that can be altered to create any space you want, up to the reproduction of one of the modules of the Museum of Simple Technology (Madras, India, 1982), built in the 1980s by a group of Indian basket-weavers following the instructions supplied by the architect via the Communication Centre of Scientific Knowledge for Self-reliance. The design and manuals created by Friedmann are here placed in a dialogue with the study project conceived for a refugee camp. Also on display is an area dedicated to Boulevard Garibaldi, his famous home-studio, a timeless place of creation and inspiration. Included in this section is material relative to key moments in his journey, from 1958, year of the publication of the first manifesto of Architettura Mobile, to 2008. The exhibition is configured thus as a window onto the universal language of Friedman that, applied to different contexts, can respond to ecological and social needs as well as the demand for sustainability of contemporary society.

Img.4 “Yona Friedman. Mobile Architecture, People’s Architecture”, MAXXI, Rome 2017

Img.4 “Yona Friedman. Mobile Architecture, People’s Architecture”, exhibition view, MAXXI, Rome 2017. Courtesy Fondazione MAXXI.


What ultimately emerges in “Yona Friedman. Mobile Architecture, People’s Architecture” is the view according to which architecture should not impose itself on people but model itself on the inhabitant, taking account of everyday life, the needs and desires of those living in the space. What has been staged at MAXXI is a true “architecture of survival”, made of cheap materials and simple forms, that can be made by artisans if not actually residents. Today more than ever, maintains the architect of Hungarian origin, via urban reorganisation one can construct a sustainable world, where people’s lives can return to having value. A seemingly utopian vision that is enriched by that strong component of realism that is always felt in his work. As Freidman himself poetically confirmed “The way in which I conceive architecture is absolutely relative to the idea I have of music: anyone can built, just as anyone can sing; but some singers have a training such as to make them artists”.

Img.5 “Yona Friedman. Mobile Architecture, People’s Architecture”, MAXXI, Rome 2017

Img.5 “Yona Friedman. Mobile Architecture, People’s Architecture”, exhibition view, MAXXI, Rome 2017. Courtesy Fondazione MAXXI



until 29 October 2017
Yona Friedman. Mobile Architecture, People’s Architecture
MAXXI, Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo
via Guido Reni, 4/A, Rome