The project “Classici” for the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome combines two opposing parts. The first part is the existing neo-classicist architecture. The second is the artistic interference, a series of – at first sight – disturbingly kitschy photomurals from Germany.
The photomurals is to be temporarily applied with paste on the finery of eight coffers of the facade. In order to make the wallpaper visible at night, these will be illuminated with floodlights. Thus the purely structural elements of the facade are transformed into windows. For the audience, they present a view on emotionally charged landscapes of desire. The subjects of these photomurals range from a sunset at a beach in the Pacific to an autumnal forest, from Neuschwanstein Palace in Bavaria to the skyline of Manhattan.
The motives of these photo wallpapers, which measure up to 270 x 380 cm, are extracted from their decorative usage in domestic interiors and placed as a disposition in the public realm. They refer to the human longing for a perfect world, the desires for exotic escapes and a seemingly better life far away. In their provocative transposition “outdoors”, on a representative building, they question the original concept of the Architecture.
The Palazzo delle Esposizioni was built in 1883, in the neo-classicist style that was the contemporary design of choice for a representative building of the dominant political power in Europe and the US. At its centre is the entrance in the form of a triumphal arc that can be accessed via a flight of steps. The stylistic idiom is taken from antiquity and stands for rationality and clarity. At the same time, this invocation of antiquity and its aesthetics positions this far from the social reality of the day and keeps visitors at a respectful distance.
Like with all neo-classicist buildings, the architecture is appropriating elements from antiquity, without ever achieving its authentic harmony and beauty. Thus, this Palazzo embodies a longing. This longing, however, is not directed to the future, as are the photomuralss, but to the past. This double longing between the building and the applied wallpapers becomes apparent for the viewing citizens. The monumental architecture of representation of the central tract is flanked and countered by the modest longings of the individual citizens.
For two days and nights, the project “Classici” makes it possible for citizens and state to rub against each other on the outer skin of a building. The term ‘classici’ is Latin and means “citizens of first tax bracket”. The derivatives “classical period” and “classicist” are synonyms for the exemplary and commendable. With this title, we would like to accentuate the common striving for the unattainable. For us Germans, Italy was always the location of an imagined paradise, the “country, where the lemons are flowering”. At present, people illustrate this longing through holiday photographs and standardized posters of these “paradises”, which are attached in domestic spaces for constant viewing.
The longing, backward looking face of the Palazzo’s representative architecture will thus fuse with the individuals’ private longings for another location, creating a varied and colourful view.
Selection of Photomurals
Photomurals New York