The In artibus Foundation presents two projects that are united by the figure of the Swiss architect Luigi Pelli (1771-1861). Their task is to reunite the past with the present.
Luigi Pelli kept a diary in the nineteenth century, where he described his route from St. Petersburg to Lugano, and Yuri Palmin repeated it in the XXI century, here the most interesting and unexpected meeting of matter and memory took place. Yuri Palmin is an architectural photographer, which means that his images should initially contain the code “what it really was”, but in this shooting everything went differently. Yuri aimed to document the cities and the objects described by Pelly, and as a result, a new artistic problem arose in the photographs: reality was replaced by a “small reality”, something that could not be seen in theory, but could only be imagined became visible.
Yuri Palmin: “I didn’t know Luigi Pelly. Going on a winter trip in his footsteps, I was afraid that in the absence of such personal knowledge, the work would be doomed to a mechanical repetition of a given route, adjusted for the complexity of logistics. The risk was great, but from the first day of the journey, the image of my hero began to form as if from pure air. On the one hand, classicism, as the basis of the education and worldview of the Tessin architect of the XIX century, on the other hand, romanticism, crystallized in a frosty pattern in the historical time of the journey, superimposed on the map of Europe and, combined with my own memories and experiences, gave rise to a strange image of the departed soul of the architect, serving forty years in reflections on craft, continuity, responsibility and the purpose of their work. The stops on the way began to be filled with symbolic content, their sequence gained a clear meaning.”
“The diary of the journey of Luigi Pelli, originally from Aranno, from St. Petersburg to Lugano in 1829”, published with the support of the In artibus Foundation, at first glance is the traditional travel notes of an architect who came to Russia in the 1810s in search of exciting and profitable orders and returned home many years later. But in fact, Pelly’s book for the history of architecture is much more than just a travelogue.
The translation and publication of Pelly’s travel letters and notes, which were kept by his heirs in Switzerland for all these years, undertaken by the In artibus Foundation, is in fact the first documented edition of the architect’s author’s materials in Russia. After all, Luigi Pelly is a controversial and mysterious figure in the history of Russian architecture, and the range of monuments attributed to him is still hardly reasoned. Therefore, behind the line of an elegant facsimile reproduction of a handwritten diary, equipped with almost a subscript translation, and most importantly, on the pages of the author’s drawings and sketches attached to the biography from the “Notebook for Notes and Sketches”, the long-awaited new facts and possibilities of interpretation of Pelly’s creative heritage will open.
These rare graphic sheets that allow you to look into the architect’s “kitchen” are truly a find that can turn over the attributions that have been established for years, and the book itself provokes and intrigues not only narrow specialists in the history of architecture, but also everyone who is interested in the culture of this time.
Curator of the exhibition: Svetlana Taylor
Organizer: In artibus Foundation