#TeleMuseion #MuseionCalling: Interview with Ugo La Pietra

Image: Ugo La Pietra, Ex-Voto, 2020 (drawing, mixed media on paper). Courtesy of the artist

“Balconies have now found their own role. A fundamental role for survival that allows us to be outside, to get out of the house and feel once again, even for a (very) short time, inhabitants of urban space.”
Ugo La Pietra

The second event with #MuseionCalling hosts a contribution from the artist Ugo La Pietra, who has gifted us this reflection on the situation we are living in. The text is entitled “The Balcony” and is accompanied by the drawing “Ex-Voto”. The author recommended by Ugo La Pietra for this period is Ennio Flaiano.

In his works, La Pietra (b. 1938, Bussi sul Tirino, Pescara. Lives and works in Milan) focuses, often ironically, on the individual’s relationship with urban space and its dynamics and structure. His work is exhibited in the exhibition “Intermedia. Archivio di Nuova Scrittura”

#MuseionCalling is a series of brief interviews and contributions that give voice to the artists close to Museion and therefore to you too!


The balcony

For far too long, people had got out of the habit of staying at home, as they were increasingly drawn to town centres. After all, the best way to be together is to get away from domestic solitude that has been intensified by computers and the internet.

For over twenty years, especially the younger generations have lost interest in the art of furnishing. Interior design has become a thing of the past, cultivated at Faculties of Architecture by maestros, such as Gio Ponti, Vittoriano Viganò and Carlo De Carli, and the poor furniture manufacturers are no longer asked to produce objects for domestic use.

With a violence that took many by surprise, however, the virus arrived from China and everybody suddenly had to stay at home. Everyone, even the young people who used to spend so much time in town. Everyone, even the students who used to fill the early morning streets on their way to school. Everyone, even the mothers who used to pack the supermarkets, excited at the prospect of special offers. In a word, everyone.

Everyone’s at home, to stop the virus spreading!

So, homes are now being frequented in a way that everyone had forgotten. Everyone is trying to build daily relationships with spaces and objects.

Staying at home looking for something to do: read, cook, contact someone over the internet, sleep. All these things are getting more and more difficult, too, given that they are interspersed with TV bulletins about the number of deaths and people infected, in Italy and around the world, that immobilize us with daily terror.

Staying at home is the only way to combat the virus, which means you can’t go out.

After a while the idea of going out becomes an obsession. And that is when these prisoners under house arrest look for a way out: the window, but, above all, the balcony.

The balcony, that small outdoor area projected into urban space that over recent decades has been cluttered up with broom cupboards, rubbish bins and air conditioners…

Balconies have now found their own role. A fundamental role for survival that allows us to be outside, to get out of the house and feel once again, even for a (very) short time inhabitants of urban space.

The balcony, that residential tool which in my 1970s work, succeeded in representing the way of breaking down the barrier between indoor and outdoor space, has today become one of the most useful urban spaces for overcoming this compulsory domestic claustrophobia.