Considered one of the century's most fundamental contributors to postmodern classicism, Swiss architect Mario Botta is respected particularly for his sensitivity to regional vernacular and to the building's relationship with the land. He is the designer of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art the only commissions he has accepted in the United States.
Bottas body of work ranges from private residences in the Swiss Alps to urban projects in Europe and Asia. The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art presents the exhibition Mario Botta: Architecture and Memory January 31 through July 25, 2014.
Botta is among the most noted architects on an international scale. His reputation and status have long been established throughout the rest of the world by the great number and wide variety of commissions the 70-year-old architect has received in the last 50 years throughout Europe and most recently Asia. He is considered one of the world's foremost architects of churches and museums.
The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is the only U.S. venue for this engaging exhibition that highlights the designs for some of Bottas significant museums, libraries, theaters and religious spaces. Over the last decades, Botta has focused on creating major public buildings worldwide. The exhibition features sketches, original wood models and photographs for 30 of these projects.
More than 200 objects are on view throughout the museums entire fourth-floor gallery including wooden stools designed by Botta, which provide seating for the exhibitions digital slide shows.
Also featured in the exhibition are letters and sketches by architects and others who have influenced Botta. Included in this Encounters section are artworks from the Bechtler collection created by artists who have inspired Botta such as Alberto Giacometti, Jean Tinguely, Alexander Calder and Pablo Picasso.
This exhibition is a celebration of the Bechtler building as the single largest object in our collection, said John Boyer, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art President and CEO. It is a reminder of the powerful uniqueness of this commission in the United States and an acknowledgement of the important relationship between architecture and other forms of art.
The shows title, Architecture and Memory, addresses what Botta says are inseparable elements in that the transformations wrought by architecture become part of the human landscape.
Bottas buildings interpret modern culture while evoking the memory of the land. Bottas buildings respect topographical conditions, regional factors and building materials. His designs bear the stamp of respect for craftsmanship and are often ruled by an underlying geometric principle. Though he occasionally uses steel and glass in visible quantities, Botta is truly an architect of stone, brick and concrete. He uses geometric shapes to juxtapose lightness and weight.
Bottas work, as described in The New York Times, "eschews the slickness and the sleekness of so much late modernism. His material is masonry, not glass or steel, and he uses it to create buildings that are firm, self-assured essays in geometry.