Cinema Nervi

Manifattura Tabacchi, from 25th January to 26th February 2021, Florence.

Cinema Nervi is an invitation to observe the work of Pier Luigi Nervi with a fresh eye. Clube (São Paulo), Anabel Garcia Kurland (London), Alessio Grancini (Los Angeles), Lucia Tahan (Berlin) and The Pleasure Paradox (Milan, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Rotterdam) were called to reinterpret five buildings from the exhibition Pier Luigi Nervi. Architettura come sfida through an unusual tool in the years of the great master’s work: video.

If one of the cornerstones and source of inspiration of the architectural production of Nervi was “immobility”, this aspect fades in a digital space, within a virtual environment set beyond a screen, where reality may be stressed and distorted to take the limits imposed by the laws of physics present in nature to the extreme. The project Cinema Nervi is inspired by one of the works Nervi was most fond of, i.e. the Cinema-Teatro Augusteo in Naples, as a space dedicated to presenting works to a public, and also by the possibilities of the contemporary digital production which allow us to visualize future scenarios for what, in this case, seems to be a heritage with no future.

Cinema Nervi, as a consequence, has developed on two parallel levels. The first one in the shape of a dedicated digital platform, through which it is possible to explore all the contents produced; and the second one in a physical installation in the spaces of the Manifattura Tabacchi, which functions as a mini-cinema, with a screen that looks like a hypothetical work of Nervi never realized. Both tools together form, as for the structures of the engineer, the dorsal spine of Cinema Nervi.

The five constructions assigned are buildings realized primarily to host very different functions compared to one another (politics, production, sport) and which today find themselves inside a completely different urban and social setting. The five artists invited read and analysed the selected five works, grasping their essential aspects, and projecting on the new meanings and visions, showing that today, certain constructions are underestimated or forgotten far too quickly. We are unfortunately used to overlook what these structures represented for the place in which they were built, and to not consider the potentialities that they could still express, without necessarily leaving space for new “glossy cover” architecture.