Text by: Sara Cervo

Cesare Leonardi, a life as an artist who devoted his life to nature and design. An exhibition in Modena celebrates the work of this relentless researcher and experimenter 

Multifaceted and eccentric figure. Cesare Leonardi, in his life as an artist, has taken care of everything. He has spanned from architecture to design, from photography to urban planning, touching painting and sculpture. A tireless researcher and experimenter, numerous institutions have dedicated a great deal of space to his work: from the Moma in New York to the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin. A little less than ten years ago he transformed his house into an archive, in Modena, where he lives. Modena is the one that dedicates to him the largest retrospective ever held in Italy. An exhibition that not only brings on stage the works, but the life of an artist capable of devoting himself to design without limits – time, space and place. Like his study for the trees of 1970, a formula proposed at that time for the Resistance Park of his city “because green is a fundamental infrastructure for the territory as are the others”. Under his eye as a photographer 300 tree species, images then redesigned in scale 1:1000 merged into the book L’ Architettura degli Alberi edited with Franca Stagi. A project that speaks a lot about his childhood, he was born “around” the cherry trees of Vignola and then the photograph learned from his father. I always liked to photograph everything that is struck by light.

But nature does not only illuminate nature, nature is also furniture, are the Solids, or furnishings for greenery and for the territory in spruce wood painted in yellow; or the Acentrated Reticular Structure where equilibrium reigns, between nature and man whose main example is in the City of the Trees of Woods Hotels Castelfranco Emilia. Because Leonardi is not only an architect, despite his degree in the subject, Leonardi is a designer open to experience. The example? The Ribbon Armchair, the Rocking, the Guscio Armchair and design works that have contributed to making history.

Cesare Leonardi. L’Architettura della Vita, in festivalfilosofia 2017
Curated by Andrea Cavani and Giulio Orsini
Galleria Civica di Modena, Palazzo Santa Margherita e Palazzina dei Giardini
Until 28th February  2018