Carlo Scarpa and the form of words

Carlo Scarpa e la forma delle parole
29 July – 25 September 2011 extended until 8 January 2012
MAXXI Architettura Archives Centre Study Room
curated by Ilaria Abbondandolo – CISA Andrea Palladio

Carlo Scarpa and the form of words is the first exhibition devoted to the graphic works of Carlo Scarpa 1906-1978), and in particular to his drawing of characters and the layout of words in the architecture and the printed works by the great master.

The works on show are drawn from throughout Scarpa’s professional career and demonstrate how all the forms of architecture that he tackled also saw him working on typeface designs. Moreover, Scarpa also worked on the design of “paper” products – accompanying materials for exhibitions, publications and printed matter of various kinds – making his debut with the design for the cover of an art magazine (1945) that is today being presented to the public for the first time. Among the exhibition’s novelties is the rediscovery of the Rizzo monument, one of Scarpa’s first “archi-script” projects that has now come to light again thanks to the generosity of one of Scarpa’s trusted craftsmen.

Most of the works come from the MAXXI Architecture collections and public and private collections from the Veneto region. In total there are 63 original works, most of them previously unseen, posters, sketches and proofs for promotional material for exhibitions: prototypes in metal and wood, the art magazine and a famous German collection of alphabets belonging to the architect on which he noted his favourite forms of writing before trying them out in his “inventions”. Video reconstructions of certain sequences of drawings allow us to step into the architect’s shoes and experience his creative process as if we had his pencil in our hand.

The initials CS, chosen as the icon of the exhibition, are the fruit of an original reading and rewriting of the alphabets of Carlo Scarpa: a tribute to the architect drawn, constructed in concrete and then photographed for the occasion by Francesca Palladini and Lucia Pasqualin.