Ugo La Pietra,* after the sign-related experiences developed within the Gruppo del Cenobio (1962/1963) and the Lepre Lunare (1964/65), from the mid-1960s has been using his own sign to explore the relations between “disturbing elements within a programmed base”, in a series of pictorial works (canvases and drawings), and in transparent methacrylate that is shaped by heating and etched when cold.

As early as the mid-1960s Gillo Dorfles referred to these works as “randomic”: the programming of structural areas in the works of Ugo La Pietra of the randomic type, that is, with a high quotient of randomness, haphazardness.”.

These visual studies can clearly be referred to the theory of the Traducibilità dei nessi intercorrenti all’interno di una struttura urbana in visualizzazioni spaziali  (The Translatability of Interconnecting Links within an Urban Structure in Spatial Visualizations) (ed. ARES, 1969), where the artist uses many examples to describe how it is possible to read the urban structure by using the technique of macro scale visualizations “via formal elements reduced to small elements: points”.

This research would initially be presented in 1966 accompanied by a catalogue at the Flaviana gallery in Locarno.

Such studies, charaterized by a strong significant component, with respect to the rupture of the “programmed system”, would lead La Pietra, in the second half of the 1960s to develop his “theory of the unbalancing system”, a theory that would use disturbing elements to decipher the social and environmental rigidities of the urban structure via audio-visual spaces, installations, and performances. A theory that still today represents one of the most original contributions to Conceptual art and Radical architecture.

The exhibition will present fifty works made between 1964 and 1972 (mixed media on canvas and paper, Indian ink on paper, methacrylate sheets, photomontages) and it will be accompanied by the publication of Ugo La Pietra, Campo tissurato, I segni e l'urbano, a cura di Marco Scotini,  Archive Books, Berlin, 270 pages, 19 x 26 cm.

We thank the Archives Ugo La Pietra, Simona Cesana, Lucio La Pietra


*Born in 1938 in Bussi sul Tirino (Pe)

Lives and works in Milan