Interview: Paolo Portoghesi

architect Paolo Portoghesi
interviewed by Nikola Polak


ORIS: Mr. Portoghesi, let us, first of all, go back to the Venice Biennale of 1980.


We still remember the vividness of a dialogue established by “Strada Novissima” within your paradigmatic exhibition, and the theoretical discourse has not yet completely exhausted the importance of that revolutionary achievement. How do you judge today, with a critical distance, the results of that international project?


Portoghesi: My opinion is quite negative. When I was organizing the exhibition La presenza del passato (The presence of the past), my idea was to continue and develop what had been present in the Italian culture since the fifties. We have here the names such us Gardella, Albini, Ridolfi, Scarpa. They tried very hard, in connection with their work, to find, inside the tradition of the Modern Movement (Moderna) relation with historical tradition, with tradition without adjectives, especially with Italian tradition. That is why I chose Gardella and Ridolfi as two strong points and dedicated them two retrospective exbitions, together with the Philip Johnson´s exhibition, the one initiated mostly by Scully and Stern who were with me on the Committee deciding on the invitations for the exhibition.