Critical review of studies on the representation of architecture and use of the image in science and art

Alessandro Goppion
Imagine with your hands

The long image critical reflection that Alexander Goppion, creator of fascinating exhibition equipment in museums and in the most prestigious galleries in the world, offers us at XY is quite provoking. It is a provocation because, without preamble, he emphasizes the intrusiveness that the visual culture today shows in contemporary civilization. Moreover addressing us, committed to supporting the important role of images in the development of thought.

Goppion puts us on guard against the growing domination of seeing above doing; domain, which he says is not all that efficient, sometimes it is considered lesser by the artisan, truly operative in his job, who, not infrequently, trusts the skill of his hands rather than that visual intelligence put under the spotlight, however, by anyone involved in graphic disciplines.

Already in the eighties, in fact, eminent scholars were induced to converge on the title “the primacy of drawing” the many cultural events, exhibitions and publications, to show and prove it was necessary, since the design and all other forms of representation fed mental synthesis and intellectual underpinning of artistic production.

Now, Goppion says, not untruly of course, that there is an alternative, or if you will, supplementary way to this widespread and well‒rooted conviction. It is the role of hands as an extension of thought, to produce results that sometimes the mind does not come up with as readily as is proper instead of hands. Often, he says, the immediate action taken by acting directly on the things is worth more than the long, over speculated actions, even if guided by true sight. Operational insight with which the hand acts is often more accurate and produces more effective inventions perceived as more effective.

Ultimately, this is the operationist teaching of Vico and Bridgman, confirmed in every manifestation of Goppion’s long experience and craftsmanship as an art exhibitor.

Milan, October 21, 2016

The Hand (1982), sculpture by the Chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal located in Punta del Este (Uruguay) The Hand (1982), sculpture by the Chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal located in Punta del Este (Uruguay)

Interview by

Roberto de Rubertis

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Roberto de Rubertis is emeritus professor of Sapienza University of Rome, former professor of Architecture Drawing (1981-2011).

Architect since 1965 he has designed among other works large residential and service centers (Pesaro 1968-78, Chieti 1976-1978) and museum exhibits (Perugia, Spoleto, Orvieto, Colfiorito). He was president of the course of Graphic and Multimedia Design of the Faculty of Architecture of Rome.

He also taught Architectural Survey, Perception and Visual Communication at the Faculty of Architecture of Rome, and Architectural Design at the Faculty of Engineering of Perugia.

He founded and directed (since 1986) the magazine "XY dimensions of design". He conducts research in the field of visual perception, the archaeological survey, redevelopment of urban unresolved issues and evolutionism in architecture.