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Cherubino Gambardella's Unreal Collages

The mixed media collages of the Neopolitan architect

Both dizzyingly vibrant and wonderfully dark, Naples has a classical beauty tempered by decaying grandeur and crime-ridden streets. As the architect Luca Molinari once said: ‘In the bowels of Naples you can find anything.’ And while some may find this half-sinister ambiguity alarming, Neopolitan architect Cherubino Gambardella has found the urban scene to be an endless source of inspiration and a recurring site of speculation.

Asking us to indulge in a ‘dose of unreality’, this Futurist-Surrealist lovechild Life with Objects: the Manifesto is taken from Gambardella’s latest book (La vita con gli oggetti / Life with Objects). With an intuitive creativity scarcely glimpsed in his more pragmatic built work, this collection of drawings offers a vision to purge the city of its pathologies and endless tedium, describing new architectures sprouting out of the old.

From the rushed yet purposeful qualities of the differing media used, to the recurring sun motif (as exemplified in the popular Neapolitan folksong O Sole Mio), and the collaged photographic references of ad-hoc construction, the city has clearly shaped the architect’s imaginings. Or, as Gambardella would have it, ‘by observing the ordinary city, the space for a new beauty will be born’.

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