Nov 18, 2022–Jan 27, 2023

Vilanova Artigas

Drawing Models
Zollstrasse 115, Zürich CH8005 Map
Tue–Wed 12 am–6 pm, Thu 2–8 pm, Fri 12 am–6 pm, Sat 11 am–5 pm

João Batista Vilanova Artigas (1915 Curitiba –1985 São Paulo) was a major figure on the Brazilian architectural scene of the 20th century. Architect and founder of the School of Architecture of São Paulo (FAU) and leader of the Brazilian modernist movement Paulista, which also included Lina Bo Bardi and Paulo Mendes da Rocha.

With the permission of the Instituto Virgínia e Vilanova Artigas (IVVA) and the Artigas Archives of the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo (FAU/USP), we are now showing a selection of facsimile drawings and sketches by Vilanova Artigas.

Artigas' exceptionally extensive graphic work was based on his idea of ​​desenho (design); for him it was both practice and a political statement. The Portuguese word desenho means two things: drawing and design. For Artigas, however, it also stood for idea and execution, for intellect and practice. For him, Desenho was a hopeful act of projection into the future, a means of change. "As a tool for transforming the world," he wrote, "architecture has its own methods." The exhibition is a homage to the drawing; it is the architect's instrument, the mediator between idea and execution.

The drawings and sketches are juxtaposed with current photographs of the completed Artigas factory. Photographer Ciro Miguel's images depict a built heritage, in some cases celebrated and in others left to decay—only the memory of a utopia.

In addition, hand sketches from Artigas' private archive are interspersed in the exhibition at places where they resonate with the architectural drawings. This gives an impression of Artigas' comprehensive and complex world view. It is also a snapshot of Brazil during a momentous historical period steeped in energetic optimism but also darkness.