Tag Archives: architecture

what happens when you leave art out in the rain…

A while back i posted about a work by Mimmo Paladino called “La Montagna di Sale” – “The Salt Mountain”  (see here) which involved some horses and a giant mountain of salt. I wondered what would happen to it if it rained…well i have my answer…

Much of the now dirty salt has been washed away by weeks of torrential rain revealing the underlying tiered wooden structure of the “mountain”…The work has shrunk considerably in size, the pristine salt is now a dirty brown and its disappearance reveals that a lot of the horses have not been buried in the salt but are in fact just sections placed on top of it…in other words the illusion is shattered… not to worry, i noticed sacks of salt in the corner, so i guess it is going to be revived…

before…after

…and speaking of rain, there was a thunderstorm imminent when i was in the town centre, managed to catch it as it hovered (“omen” style) over the Duomo di Milano…

all roads lead to the camino de santiago…

All roads lead to Santiago, at least metaphorically and at least around these parts. Last year in Santiago de Compostela was some kind of super holy year (there is a “normal” holy year every 4th year, but even HOLIER years occur at longer intervals). I never go near the place when it’s holy year, it’s a crazy pilgrim nightmare! however, this was a quiet period so i got to have a good root around the cathedral with no queues or crowds…


There are many rituals to be performed in the cathedral of Santiago as obviously it’s the culmination of the whole camino (road) to Santiago. Among the many things the weary but presumably ecstatic pilgrim must do is to queue up, kneel at the centre piece to the amazing (but unfortunately under scaffolding – so i can’t really show you it) “puerta de la gloria” as seen above, they place their hands in the holes and rest their heads on the stone head. High above them holding the scroll stands the man himself, Santiago (St James).

Right inside the altar, the focal pint of the cathedral. Last year folks queued up for 4 hours just to get inside here. I had the place to myself. Not supposed to photograph this, but am on my own and not using a flash so…


Those architects knew what they were doing – a shaft of sunlight suddenly illuminates a statue of Mary…


Outside the cathedral, a small but hardy contingent of the 15 May movement have been camping in the plaza all week…

“there is not enough bread for so much salami”


Meanwhile…same city, same day, different kind of angels…


ivrea, no cake and typewriters…

…So there are two main reasons to go to the town of Ivrea, one is the The torta 900 – v famous in these parts, it’s a phenomenally good sponge cake with a generous chocolate mouse filling oozing out of it…and the other is the architecture. Unfortunately the bar that sells the cake was closed in anticipation of the august holidays…. But the architecture remains and in particular my personal favourite…the fabulous and somewhat crumbling Serra complex. The hotel has long since closed down, but part of the building lives on in the form of the ABC cinema…

“typewriter keys” formed the hotel bedrooms…

Ivrea is the home town of Olivetti, and in fact this building is based on the design of a typewriter. Olivetti was an old school utopian entrepreneur who filled the town with forward thinking architecture and many many social facilities for his workers such as enormous lending library, schools and mountain-top summer retreats for their children, modern homes and flats surrounded by playing fields and allotments… (for more see this article in frieze).

This leafy path is part of those social facilities for the public and employees and has a series of exercises to complete at each stage of the walk…

art castles…

Up early and took the train to Turin and then on to to outskirts, to Rivoli to visit the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art.  As well as temporary exhibitions of international repute, the museum is also home to a formidable permanent collection established in 1984, the year the museum opened, including works by Merz, Pistoletto, Cattelan, Taceta Dean, Sol Le Witt, Bill Viola, Rebecca Horn etc etc…

Actually in my humble opinion it’s really worth going to the collection at Rivoli. Stuck a little on the peripheries of Turin, it’s actually quite hard to physically get there without a car. You need to take the tube and then 2 buses from the centre of Turin. This means during weekdays at least the place is pretty quiet – lousy for business but great for you as a punter- and you can have this huge constructed/deconstruction art palace and all the contents it holds, nearly to yourself. In the era of blockbuster shows and the importance of bums on seats, this is kind of a rare treat to be savoured…in my humble opinion…

…another kind of art? A house near the museum in Rivoli…

decorating construction…

Is it better to decorate construction of construct decoration???(extra points for getting the reference) In Genoa, they sure like to decorate construction, venturi would have approved. Here are some of the thousands of trompe l’oeil and frou frou adornments of the buildings round these parts…

the vertical centre line of windows on the right even contain variations on the way the shutters are open, sometimes it does look almost like the real thing

This one is crazy, the road is so narrow you can’t really see the ornate decoration, it can only really be enjoyed by the neighbours directly in front…

my favourite…weird and wonderful, a whole building in genoa in wedding cake colours with relief sculptures of what can only be described as mutant caryatids…