La Città Domestica
Galleria Bianconi is pleased to present Ugo La Pietra’s new solo exhibition, entitled La Città Domestica (The Domestic City), which brings together a number of artistic projects developed at the end of the 1970s. The exhibition, curated by Marco Scotini, shows the meaning of “social” art developed by the artist in the decade from 1969-79. Ugo La Pietra has always been a careful investigator of the forms of power that inform the city and its inhabitants. With his work and during a long process, he exposed the control tactics and limits that govern it and explored further intervention methods. These are temporarily available margins that he dubbed “degrees of freedom.” He does not ideologically claim to transform the physical landscape but, our relationship with it. After having developed a morphological and analytical model in the 1960s, including networked points-objects called Campo Tissurato, La Pietra intervened directly in the space built in the following decade using a model which uses waste, breccia, residual particles, variables and chaotic urban unconscious. In the exhibition, we find urban red and white striped barriers transformed into a children’s playground, or a bar cabinet built with construction site cones. We might encounter a hybrid project where a circular street mirror supports an outdoor sink making a further step in the La Pietra work to be detected. It is a real profanation space where the artist intends to return (to social practices) what was stolen from him. This mode of desecration uses “game” forms where anything can be transformed suddenly into a toy, in an appropriation that does not take into account what is separate, has a different purpose and cannot be used for anything else. It is no coincidence that the graphic boards that collect these projects (and that characterise La Pietra style) define an inter-media space where documentary photos, drawings, stamps and text, not only give an account of the author’s transversal approach but lead back to an imaginary Lilliputian and miniaturised world. A fantasy world which escapes size constraints and take us to a malleable universe, a possible space for play, and a childhood. It is a world where the “bollards and chains” of urban equipment are disarmed from their power and activated for something else. In the La Città Domestica exhibition, a series of urban equipment, gathered in the city of Milan from 1979 to the present day, has been redesigned by the artist, distorting its intended use: from being city service structures to service structures for domestic space. Following the principle “Living is being at home everywhere,” La Pietra has transformed urban objects into domestic living accessories, public space into private and vice versa, extending the idea of a living cell to the entire city, from which the exhibition takes its title. Starting from the dual-level gallery spatial conformation, the series of works “Attrezzature Urbane per la Collettività” (Urban Equipment for the Community) is exhibited on the ground floor where the windows face the street, while in the basement are the Metropolitan Archangels, part of the “Urban Conversion” cycle initially exhibited in the subway station Melchiorre Gioia in Milan. To complete the exhibition project, Ugo La Pietra conceived a performance for the opening evening, where he has updated his work on new urban bollards.