Mario Botta: Sacred and Profane. MAXXI in Rome dedicates an exhibition to the Swiss architect, with a site-specific installation

mario botta maxxi roma
Church of the Divine Providence – construction site, Lviv, October 2020, photo courtesy of Mario Botta

MAXXI – Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo (National Museum of XXI Century Arts) in Rome dedicates an exhibition to Ticino architect Mario Botta (Mendrisio, 1943) titled Mario Botta. Sacred and Profane. Curated by Margherita Guccione and Pippo Ciorra, the exhibition is running at the Gian Ferrari Hall at MAXXI until October 23, 2022. With the Nature cycle, to which the exhibition belongs, MAXXI invites an architect to design a site-specific installation that represents a synthesis of their architectural research, a kind of “three-dimensional self-portrait.”

Sacred and Profane: the projects for public spaces by Mario Botta

Sacred and Profane is the title of the exhibition that presents a selection of projects including places of worship and spaces dedicated to civil institutions, carried out by Mario Botta in different countries of the world. As the architect explains, “built works, beyond the architect’s idea, are infinitely richer and testify to the spirit of the community for which they were created, interpreting the pulse of collective life.” Moreover, the juxtaposition of the sacred and the profane represents for Botta the ideal starting point for a reflection around the sense of sacredness that is inherent in architecture and in some of its key elements: light and shadow, gravity and lightness, transparency and matter, paths and thresholds.

Discover the Theater of Architecture by Mario Botta, in Mendrisio

mario botta maxxi roma
Bechtler Art Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA (2000/2005-2009), ph: Enrico Cano

Several elements engage the visitor in a multi-sensory installation that summarizes the essence of Mario Botta’s architecture. A large carpet-tapestry entitled Anatolia, created by Atelier Moret based on a design by Cleto Munari, is juxtaposed with large black-and-white photographic panels and sketches of original designs and models in precious woods at various scales. Francesca Molteni has also made a documentary film especially for the occasion.

mario botta maxxi roma
MART – Museo d’arte moderna e contemporanea, Rovereto, Italy (1988-2002), ph: Enrico Cano

Churches, museums and spas: contemporary public spaces

Among the many projects on display are a series of buildings for worship created by Botta from the late 1980s to the present. The Chapel of Santa Maria degli Angeli on Mount Tamaro in Switzerland is one of them; also for the Sacred theme, the Cathedral of the Resurrection in Évry, France, and, just completed, the Church of San Rocco in Sambuceto, Abruzzo, Italy.

The Profane theme, on the other hand, is represented by four projects. In Italy, the MART in Rovereto is one of them. There are also the Bechtler Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, and, in Switzerland, the Fiore di Pietra restaurant with panoramic views on Monte Generoso and the new Fortyseven° spa center in Baden.

Discover the Fiore di Pietra restaurant on Monte Generoso

The seventh volume in the Nature series, which accompanies the exhibition, illustrates Mario Botta’s thinking and long career through his work. The book, in Italian and English, also offers a look at the figures who have influenced his long career. Contributors to the book include Mario Botta himself, Pippo Ciorra, Margherita Guccione, Fulvio Irace and Claudio Strinati. [Txt: Arianna Callocchia, featured image: the exhibitio at MAXXI, ph: Daniel Richard Passafiume, courtesy of Fondazione MAXXI]

Mario Botta. Sacred and Profane
MAXXI, Rome, Gian Ferrari Hall
Until October 23, 2022

San Carlino, Lugano, Switzerland (1999 – dismantled in 2003), ph: Enrico Cano