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Dirty Autobiographical Drawings: Aldo Rossi’s Inventory Surface as a Triptych of Memory

MEMORY STUDIES '20 / VI. International Interdisciplinary Conference
will be presented in November 2021

... soon

Dirty Autobiographical Drawings: Aldo Rossi’s Inventory Surface as a Triptych of Memory

Memory is a constructive process of a highly personal confrontation with things to collect experience whereas bringing former memories together over time is an imaginal, creative and reconstructive process out of fragments to produce a multiplicity of meanings, rather than the singularity of a totality. Associated with the accumulation of ideas, objects, events, places, people and time, architecture has been a part of history of human-beings for centuries. Therefore, evoking memory to assemble new narratives from old is a long tradition in architecture. Drawing the line gives architects the capability to operate as a medium that transform experience into memory through interpretation of the gaze, and recall memory as fragments of imagination to assemble large-scale constructions for world-making and architectural action. Architects’ fertile sketchbooks exemplify the ability to create an autobiographic collection of surfacing and re-surfacing made of cyclical incidents which overlap with another: “An inventory surface” for visual images of memories as abstractions and new possible combinations as play-space of drawing.

This presentation approaches memory through Aldo Rossi’s inventory surface in company with his autobiographical drawings. “ ‘Something between memory and an inventory’ of  the things he had already seen elsewhere – both in reality and his mind’s eye.”  To do so, Rossi’s dirty drawings as a speculative site evoking a hypothetical ‘album’ will be disarticulated into the elements and forms — which combine an inventory of his architecture of memory: Geometrical forms, urban types and domestic objects. Then, this triptych of memory will be rearticulated as montages in order to uncover combinatorial logic, compositional principles of his constellation-like drawings — which give form to analogical thought, toward the collective formal knowledge of architecture. His gestural drawings are in dialogue with absence and presence, remembering and forgetting, matter and memory, surface and situation, memory and imagination, building and erasing, past and present, hand and eye, architecture and city, built and unbuilt, new and former buildings, poetry and criticism.

Keywords: Aldo Rossi, Analogical City, Architectural Drawing, Sketchbook, Memory