Dentro la Strada Novissima


The exhibition  “Dentro la Strada Novissima” tells the experience of the 1980 Venice Biennale, curated by Paolo Portoghesi and considered as the “manifesto” of the Postmodernism in Italy.

For the “Strada Novissima” biennal exhibition, the first inside the Corderie dell’Arsenale in Venice, the curator Paolo Portoghesi decided to invite twenty architects from Europe, America and Asia ( Allan Greenberg — Arata Isozaki — Massimo Scolari — Thomas Gordon Smith — Hans Hollein — GRAU A. Anselmi, P. Chiatante, G. Colucci, A. Di Noto, P. Eroli, F. Genovese, R. Mariotti, M. Martini, P. Milani, F. Montuori, P. Nicolosi, G. Patrizi, F. Pierluisi, C. Placidi, E. Rosato — Josef Paul Kleihues — Stanley Tigerman — Léon Krier — Franco Purini, Laura Termes — Robert Venturi, John Rauch, Denise Scott-Brown — Robert A.M. Stern — Oswald Mathias Ungers — Charles W. Moore — Frank O. Gehry — Taller de Arquitectura, Ricado Bofill — Michael Graves — Paolo Portoghesi, Francesco Cellini, Claudio D’Amato — Costantino Dardi — Rem Koolhaas, Elia Zenghelis) to each design one façade of an imaginary street, which he called “Strada Novissima”, referring to the historical model of the Strada Nuova, the “rue-corridor” with a strong sense of perspective. Architects should act as “artists”, creating their “architectural self-portrait” in a portion of street, as a portions of the imaginary of fairs and amusement parks. 

The imaginary is in fact one of the main theme of the Postmodernism. From the experience of Las Vegas (Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown e Steven Izenour, Learning from Las Vegas, Cambridge (USA), MIT Press, 1972) to the strong sense of the heritage from the past, the “fake” street of the 1980 Biennale was an occasion to generate “not buildings but representational images” for a “media world” (1).

For the graphic design project of the exhibition at MAXXI we used a typeface that suggest the relation of this Biennale with the historical heritage and we stressed of some parts of the texts to suggest the freedom of and the imaginary in the gallery’s space. Determined not to make a stylistic bug, a mere exercise of style around postmodern, we decided to use coloured neon to reproduce the dramatic, dialogic and monumental language of façades of the 1980 Venice Biennal, but through the effects of the interaction of typography with light so as to lose any possible formal attempt with the 1980 Venice exhibition.


From December 7, 2018 to September 29, 2019 at MAXXI – National museum of XXI century arts. Exhibition curated by Paolo Portoghesi.


(1) Véronique Patteeuw, Christophe Van Gerrewey, Tom Vandeputte, OASE 88. De tentoonstelling als plaats van productie, nai010 uitgevers, 2012

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