FRANCESCO SOMAINI

Somaini himself and those critics, who have been studying his work, have explained that the problem of the present art crisis lies in the wider and more alarming actual crisis that affects the city. This crisis has causes, aspects and developments that are extremely complex to understand: it coincides with the disintegration of structure and the fall of the fundamental values of society. It  encompasses the problems of the environment, and the problems of existence as a whole, with its biological, psychological and sociological implications. The relationship between the modern city and its inhabitants is now one of hostility and intolerance: the degradation, not only esthetic, of the city is linked to the degradation of the urban conscience and culture. This is an irreversible phenomenon: the crisis may be overcome only through a deep, substantial and revolutionary transformation of the whole system. In this necessary transformation what happens to the role of  the artists who have always been responsible for the dimension,  configuration and  visible order of the space? Today, they are sidelined, banished to only looking after rare and marginal programs concerning urban design. Urbanists and architects themselves can only design within limited programs imposed from above, by the organs of power. They are simply technicians, or, often, unheard counselors. Their global proposals remain theoretical constructions, work hypothesis; in the best of cases, they are considered ideologies, in the worst of cases, the are seen as utopias, swinging between opposite and equally unrealistic extremes: on one side a total and extensive urbanization, on the other side the final disintegration of urban centers. Rather than advancing the city of the future, they plan the extinction of the historical city, the city of the artists.

(From: Francesco Somaini, exhibition catalogue, Salzburg, 1974)

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