Ugo La Pietra

Abitare e essere ovunque a casa propria, 1979

During the 1970s, Ugo La Pietra crisscrossed the territory of the city in pursuit of the Situationists’ dream of its subjective reappropriation. As one intervention followed another, he gradually achieved his program slogan: “Living in the city means being at home everywhere.” With the “Projectual Reconversion” series (1976-1979), he continued his work on the processes of recuperation and reinvention. In this case, La Pietra assigned new uses to urban furniture, which according to him, were generating violence and imposing constraints on city life. He inverted their purpose by transforming them into “service structures for domestic space.” In 1977, the artist installed his Arcangeli metropolitani (Metropolitan archangels) – composed of roadway signposts – in the Melchiorre Gioia subway station in Milan, challenging this transit point’s lack of identity. The series of Attrezature urbane per la Collettivita’ (1978-1979) shows reconversions systematically organized in three arrangements, following the instructions provided for assembly: a photograph of urban furniture in its usual context; a technical diagram and a description explaining the procedure for its reappropriation; a drawing of the domestic object thus obtained, in which it is placed in context by the addition of objects from daily life (glasses, ashtrays, toys, etc.). Along the same lines, Paletti e catene, presented in 1979 at the Milan Triennale, shows the transformation of the chains and posts used to delimit urban spaces into chairs, tables, beds, furniture for storage, etc. Certain photographs show the artist himself implementing some of the uses for which the furniture was designed.

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