SUPERSTUDIO 50 at MAXXI in Rome

Superstudio, Autoritratto, 1973, collage
Photo: C. Toraldo di Francia

 

Superstudio is one of the most influential groups in Italian radical architecture, founded in 1966 by Adolfo Natalini and Cristiano Toraldo di Francia, who were later joined by Gian Piero Frassinelli, the brothers Roberto and Alessandro Magris and Alessandro Poli. 50 years on from its foundation, MAXXI in Rome is devoting a major retrospective to the group: SUPERSTUDIO 50.

“Superarchitecture is the architecture of superproduction, of superconsumption, of superinduction to superconsumption, of the supermarket, of superman and super petrol.”

(Archizoom and Superstudio, 1966)

Known for the strength of its images and for the extreme variety of its output, the work of Superstudio has always evaded clear, identifiable labels; this exhibition brings together and presents over 200 pieces, ranging from installations to objects, from graphic works to photographs through to publications covering the entire career and development of the group, materials largely drawn from its own archives, some never previously displayed and many of which will progressively enter MAXXI’s architecture collection.

SUPERSTUDIO 50 presents, among other works, the most important drawings, photomontages and installations from The Continuous Monument series (1969), the Architectural Histograms (1969-70) and The Twelve Ideal Cities (1971), projects though which the group demonstrated the possibilities and the limits of architecture understood as instrument of a critique of society. Alongside this material, are design objects.

Superstudio, Il Monumento Continuo, Grand Hotel Colosseo 1969, photomontage
Photo: Fondazione Maxxi

 

Superstudio, Le Dodici Città Ideali. Città delle Semisfere, 1971, photomontage
Photo: Fondazione Maxxi

 

Part of the exhibition is devoted to the group’s videos, including the previously unseen Continuous Monument, a project from 1969 of which only the storyboard existed and which has been produced by MAXXI for this exhibition. Also screening will be the five films of The Fundamental Acts (Life, Educations, Ceremony, Love, Death, 1972-73), Superstudio’s most ambitious attempt to tackle the relationship between life and design, which while on the one hand proposes an anthropological and philosophical refoundation of architecture, on the other progressively free the individual energies of the group which officially broke up in the early Eighties.

SUPERSTUDIO 50 is moreover completed by the work of a number of artists who have given specific interpretations of Superstudio’s work – from the videos of Hironaka & Suib and Rene Daalder, through to the documentary research of the photographer Stefano Graziani.

Bazaar, Giovannetti, 1969, divano componibile
Photo C. Toraldo di Francia

 

On the occasion of the exhibition the publisher Quodlibet is presenting Superstudio. Opere 1966-1978, edited by Gabriele Mastrigli and collecting for the first time in an annotated form, the works, the texts and the projects of the celebrated group, from the best-known to the most extreme, generously illustrated with an vast quantity of images and previously unpublished documents, the fruit of long and painstaking archival reconstruction.

MAXXI – Via Guido Reni, 4/A 00196 Rome
21 April – 4 September 2016