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Super-Retrospective at MAXXI Rome

Superstudio was a design movement proposing radical and utopist ideas regarding architecture.

The Continuous Movement: Grand Hotel version I

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In 1966, Adolfo Natalini and Cristiano Toraldo di Francia founded in Florence one of the most influential avant-gardes in the 1970s, known as Superstudio. After fifty years, the members of this group have proposed a retrospective of their work, exposed at the MAXXI in Rome, titled Superstudio 50.

Superstudio was a design movement proposing radical and utopist ideas regarding architecture. One example was the project known as “The Continuous movement” (1969), in which architecture was the only alternative to the nature. In their drawings, they outlined regular and continuous structures, filling empty spaces and reconstructing old ruins.


passiflora lamp

Passiflora Lamp, 1968, Plastic, Centro Studi Poltronova. Courtesy of the museum. Above: The Continuous Movement: Grand Hotel version I, 1969, ink and blueprint on carboard, MAXXI, Rome. Courtesy of the museum.


Their ideas are shown not only by designing colorful objects, but also by using their drawings, plans, photos organized by themes. In some cases, the artists themselves have borrowed their own works. The whole installation and exhibition path is linear and suggestive, providing interactivity to the exhibition.

The exhibit shows all the aspects of the movement and its evolution. However, this retrospective slightly lacks universality. With the exception of a couple of videos, all the explanations are quotations from the members of Superstudio, making their project cryptic for young people or viewers which do not know much about the 1060s and 1970s art.


superstudio backstage

Tonaldo Cristiano di Francia, Superstudio backstage, 1970, photographic prints. Courtesy of the museum

Not considering this little defect, the exhibit is an exhaustive journey through a radical Italian avant-garde, using all possible media to complete it. Moreover, the exhibition also shows “The fundamental acts,” three movies entitled Life, Education, Ceremony, Love, Death.  These show the relationship between humans and architecture.

Is Superstudio 50 a good exhibition and a retrospective of the group? I’d rather say yes. Although they may be complex, the words of the movement members are suggestive and intriguing. Appealing to art lovers, the show is undoubtedly stimulating and pushes the viewers to learn more about this movement.

I recommend to take a look to the various projects of the group, like the Ideal Cities and Didactic Architecture, to better understand the ideas of a movement that analyzed the relationship between architecture, education, human beings, and nature.





Superstudio 50


21 April – 4 September 2016  

Address: Via Guido Reni, 4a

Times: Tue – Thu 11-19 Sat 11-22 Sun 11-19

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