Formal autonomy versus public participation: these are the opposite poles of Costantino Nivola’s view on monuments. Better known nowadays for his relationship with Le Corbusier, Nivola (Orani, 1911 - East Hampton, 1988) played a significant role in the international public art scene from the 1950s to the 1970s. Trained in Milan in the 1930s in the climate of architectural Rationalism and Adriano Olivetti’s humanism, anti-fascist Nivola and his wife Ruth Guggenheim escaped to New York in 1939. Thanks to the development of a unique sand casting technique and his distinctive use of concrete, he gained a solid reputation as an architectural sculptor, working with masters such as BBPR, Breuer, Sert and Saarinen. In looking at five of Nivola’s unrealized projects for monuments, the paper will analyse his two-sided approach to the theme. The Pergola-village (1951), destined to the artist's birthplace in Sardinia, extended the use of vine pergolas - typical traits of the Mediterranean architecture - into the entire urban context, as a means of visualising and strengthening the community’s social ties. The Bataan-Corregidor Memorial (1957), a kind of ante-litteram Land Art project, proposed to turn the whole Corregidor island into sculptural matter with the help of the Marine Corps. The Monument to the “Brigata Sassari” (1959) was an urban-sized labyrinth in the shape of a soldier’s body. A similar concept inspired the Roosevelt Memorial for New York City (1973), where the stars and stripes of the U.S. flag formed the tri-dimensional elements of walkable pathways. Finally, the Antonio Gramsci Memorial (1968-1977) was imagined as a pure, almost abstract shrine that contrasted the inner expressionist sculptural elements.  In these projects the oscillation between a demiurgic view from above and partial, ever-changing perspectives, between visual appropriation of space and environmental immersion, hints at the coexistence of the opposing drives towards subjectivity and the subject's dissolution in the collective sphere. By shifting between creative individualism and communitarian ethics, environmental expansion and affirmation of the sculptural object, Nivola’s research exposes the contradictions of the 20th century discourse on monuments.

FORMAL AUTONOMY VS. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION: THE MODERNIST MONUMENT IN COSTANTINO NIVOLA’S WORK / Altea, Giuliana; Camarda, Antonella. - 1:(2017), pp. 134-162.

FORMAL AUTONOMY VS. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION: THE MODERNIST MONUMENT IN COSTANTINO NIVOLA’S WORK

ALTEA, Giuliana;CAMARDA, Antonella
2017

Abstract

Formal autonomy versus public participation: these are the opposite poles of Costantino Nivola’s view on monuments. Better known nowadays for his relationship with Le Corbusier, Nivola (Orani, 1911 - East Hampton, 1988) played a significant role in the international public art scene from the 1950s to the 1970s. Trained in Milan in the 1930s in the climate of architectural Rationalism and Adriano Olivetti’s humanism, anti-fascist Nivola and his wife Ruth Guggenheim escaped to New York in 1939. Thanks to the development of a unique sand casting technique and his distinctive use of concrete, he gained a solid reputation as an architectural sculptor, working with masters such as BBPR, Breuer, Sert and Saarinen. In looking at five of Nivola’s unrealized projects for monuments, the paper will analyse his two-sided approach to the theme. The Pergola-village (1951), destined to the artist's birthplace in Sardinia, extended the use of vine pergolas - typical traits of the Mediterranean architecture - into the entire urban context, as a means of visualising and strengthening the community’s social ties. The Bataan-Corregidor Memorial (1957), a kind of ante-litteram Land Art project, proposed to turn the whole Corregidor island into sculptural matter with the help of the Marine Corps. The Monument to the “Brigata Sassari” (1959) was an urban-sized labyrinth in the shape of a soldier’s body. A similar concept inspired the Roosevelt Memorial for New York City (1973), where the stars and stripes of the U.S. flag formed the tri-dimensional elements of walkable pathways. Finally, the Antonio Gramsci Memorial (1968-1977) was imagined as a pure, almost abstract shrine that contrasted the inner expressionist sculptural elements.  In these projects the oscillation between a demiurgic view from above and partial, ever-changing perspectives, between visual appropriation of space and environmental immersion, hints at the coexistence of the opposing drives towards subjectivity and the subject's dissolution in the collective sphere. By shifting between creative individualism and communitarian ethics, environmental expansion and affirmation of the sculptural object, Nivola’s research exposes the contradictions of the 20th century discourse on monuments.
978-1-4438-5179-4
FORMAL AUTONOMY VS. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION: THE MODERNIST MONUMENT IN COSTANTINO NIVOLA’S WORK / Altea, Giuliana; Camarda, Antonella. - 1:(2017), pp. 134-162.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11388/174032
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact