Territory as Palimpsest: The legacy of André Corboz
Start date: 4 November 2022
End date: 5 February 2023
The Teatro dell’architettura Mendrisio of the Università della Svizzera italiana is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition "Territory as Palimpsest: The legacy of André Corboz", promoted by the Academy of Architecture - USI, with the Institute for the History and Theory of Art and Architecture – ISA, the support of the Academy of Architecture Library and of the Borromini Chair, from November 4, 2022 to February 5, 2023.
The exhibition aims to examine the complex corpus of works by André Corboz, an art and city historian from Geneva, whose library and documents collection are preserved in the USI Academy of Architecture Library in Mendrisio (ref. Fondo A.Corboz) and whose interests ranged from Palladio to the Territorial Grid of the United States, from planning during the French Enlightenment to postmodern Switzerland.
To this day, Corboz's metaphor of the “territory as palimpsest” remains pertinent. His writing was increasingly aware and critical of the constructed nature of the territory from the 1980s on. To Corboz both landscape and the urban condition were terms needing to be constantly questioned and problematised. In doing so, he addressed issues that have remained crucial, in particular in the polycentric, urbanised Swiss landscape that has been undergoing a dramatic spatial evolution.
The exhibition uncovers connections between diverse subjects, taking visitors into Corboz's intellectual laboratory, providing insights into his work methods and narrative strategies. It will also address his activities as cultural critic, writer and educator of historians and architects. The exhibition's thematic sectors are structured along two main themes: How to read the territory and Knowledge production and historiography. This distinction emphasises Corboz's contributions to the discourse of landscape and urban development on the one hand, while also illustrating the evolution of a self-trained historian who travelled through multiple disciplinary fields.
Together with the exhibition at the Teatro dell’architettura Mendrisio, a dedicated website is published. Along a chronological axis (with biographical and bibliographical data) it highlights various facets of Corboz's work. Drawing from textual and visual sources in the Fondo A. Corboz, the website shows how Corboz’s research projects were designed and implemented in his publications. Then the website provides additional documents such as the audio testimonials collected by the curators from former colleagues, students and collaborators of Corboz, while opening a window for future research on the Fondo A. Corboz based on his estate in Mendrisio.
Curatorial team: André Bideau (concept, main content), Sonja Hildebrand, with Anna Bernardi, Elena Cogato Lanza e Frida Grahn
Curatorial assistance: Isabela Ferrari, Petra Filagrana, Lucia Pennati
Fondo A. Corboz, Biblioteca dell'Accademia di architettura: Elisabetta Zonca
Further contribution: students from Corboz Lab of the Accademia di architettura, spring 2022, professor André Bideau.