Castell'Arquato celebrates the architect, artist and designer Albino Vescovi. A journey into his creative energies: painting, architecture, design and graphics

Twenty large-format pictorial works, from 1986 to today, models, photos and drawings of architectural production and a selection of design objects. Pays homage to his versatilitySegno Spazio Luce, the anthological personal exhibition with Electa catalogue, in the Palazzo del Podestà of Castell'Arquato, Piacenza, from 25 May to 28 July.

With the patronage of the Municipality of Castell'Arquato, the exhibition, strongly supported by the Councilor for Culture Gilda Bojardi, is curated by Donata Meneghelli and Giuseppe Pannini and welcomed operationally by Albino Vescovi.

“Albino Vescovi has not lost the strong emotional ties with the village where he contributed to the valorization of the territory with expertise and culture of materials”, says Bojardi, “The first thing that thrilled me was his painting, made of the use of mixed techniques from oil on canvas, to sketches on paper, to acrylic.

This is an approach to the design theme that architects of past generations have always had; a creative complexity that links pictorial sensitivity and passion for the history of art to making architecture. Many architects, not only Italian, of the 20th century found in painting a window to express their poetics more freely".

Born in Bern to Emilian parents, after a period of training in Switzerland, Vescovi moved to Italy to attend art schools. He breathes the excitement of the nineties among the main European cities and in 1996 he opens his own professional studio in Castell'Arquato, where he lives and works today. We met him to ask us aboutSign Spazio Luce.

Can you tell us how “Segno Spazio Luce” was born?

Albino Vescovi: "In the last two years I have been invited several times by Gilda Bojardi, and now I have accepted with pleasure, trying to enhance the Palazzo del Podestà through a different layout than usual and by increasing the exhibition surface ".

So how does the exhibition unfold?

Albino Vescovi: "I chose to divide the exhibition into two areas: first the painting, with works from 1984 to today. It is not easy to enclose forty years of painting in one room, but with Giuseppe Pannini we tried, trying to select the most significant works. The second environment lives on fragments of architecture: a timeline from 1996 to 2023 of buildings, interior projects and objects".

From Switzerland to Italy. Who made you discover your vocation as an artist?

Albino Vescovi: "I believe that the vocation has always been in me: since I was little I felt the need to draw and I felt a keen inclination towards artistic languages. From Switzerland I came to Italy precisely for the art schools art: at school I shone in artistic subjects".

Light and shapes: it seems to me that on the canvas you want to open doors to interior worlds. Where does this need come from?

Albino Vescovi: "From instinct. The first pictorial works were the result of analysis and research, all in oils. Then I started experimenting with other materials, trying to describe the reality around us, the external world. I readThe Cosmicomics by Calvino and other somewhat naïve stories, which influenced me.

Then I started adding white and material openings to the works, instinctively: white windows through which we try to enter an internal world.

In front of Correggio's fresco located in the dome above the main altar of the Duomo di Parma the light is at the centre, as in the frescoes of many domes of Italian churches: admiring them I had a sort of revelation, an invitation to seek me and find something beyond the outside world. When I paint, I paint by seeing things in a different way: it's instinct and transport".

In this, is architectural practice similar?

Albino Vescovi: "Painting and architecture are two aspects of the same coin, an irrational and rational part. I approach architecture by thinking about it in a space and with concreteness, collaborating with other key figures in a commissioned project.

In this operational process I try to vary each project: I have been lucky, or perhaps I have managed to communicate the projects in a multidisciplinary way, going into depth, analyzing the state of affairs, "seeing the disease and treating it ”, to use a metaphor. Architecture is also personal, but more functional".

How decisive is the client in a project?

Albino Vescovi: "The client is often the key to a project and its potential. In the Piacenza area it is not flourishing, but that's fine: the connection with the territory has an inestimable value.

Let's take, for example, the territorial scale of Castell'Arquato: the interventions are not ultra-modern, but they have the same care. As Enzo Mari said, "my small project has the dignity of a skyscraper".

You collaborated, in 1999, with Ettore Sottsass in the creation and production of 28 pieces of design and craft furniture. The best memory of the godfather of Italian design?

Albino Vescovi: "Many things, certainly his great generosity and sincere interest towards a young point of view. We participated in the project, born from Roberto > Boscaini, a visionary".

Have you ever wished you had other talents?

Albino Vescovi: "No. Actually yes, perhaps writing, because communicating with words is not my strong point, I am a reserved person. I try to make myself read as best I can: my word is the drawing".

The catalog of the exhibition “Segno Spazio Luce”, edited by Meneghelli and Pannini, is published by Electa. The volume brings together for the first time the artistic works and architecture and design projects of Albino Vescovi, accompanied by the critical contributions of the curators and Sergio Buttiglieri. These are joined by the testimonies of those who in various capacities have encountered Vescovi's passion and professionalism: journalists, entrepreneurs, designers, painters.

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