Upcoming Inaugural Lectures

“Symptoms of Modernity: Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s Project of Space” – Professor Teresa Stoppani

17:30 – 19:00, 27 May 2015

Rose Bowl, Portland Crescent, LS1 3HJ

Professor Teresa Stoppani will examine the work of Italian engraver and architect Giovanni Battista Piranesi, best known for his etchings of ancient and baroque Rome and grandiose architectural constructions of his own imagination.

In the mid-18th century, Piranesi’s graphic work produced a fierce visual attack that unsettled the stability of the classical languages of architecture. His powerful images redefined architecture and still resonate in contemporary architectural discourse.

The lines of Piranesi’s etchings manipulated the process of drawing, challenging the conventions of architectural representation and transgressing the rules of the classical orders of architecture. But Piranesi’s work went beyond this. While his designs remained mostly confined to drawings and copper engravings, his images produced one of the most important “projects” in the history of architecture, as they redefined the very notion of modern urban and architectural space. Piranesi’s etchings did not simply represent spaces that were, nor did they anticipate spaces that were yet to be. Rather, they envisioned possible and multiple conceptions of space that are still explored today and implemented in contemporary architecture.

Teresa will argue that it is important to reconsider Piranesi’s etchings today, not as surveys of ancient ruins or creations of fantastic spaces, but as a project of ideas. She will suggest that Piranesi’s work makes possible a new notion of space – open, infinite, changing, smooth, dynamic – which engages the shift of contemporary architectural and spatial practices, where pencil and burin are replaced by animation software packages and scripting languages, towards an architecture of becoming: an architecture beyond form, which works with change and materiality.

More information: http://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/research/professorial-inaugural-lectures/

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