One hundred years after the birth of Giuseppe Terragni, an exhibition by the young Como artist Fabrizio Musa pays homage to the great architect, his fellow citizen.
The solo show, held from 23 to 27 February at the European Parliament in Brussels - ASP espace Coloir building - is promoted by the Honorable Cristiana Muscardini, President of the National Alliance delegation at the European Parliament, and was sponsored by Sergio Gaddi, Councilor to the Culture of the Municipality of Como, and of the Institute of Italian Culture in Brussels.
Curated by Roberto Borghi and Carlo Ghielmetti, the exhibition presents about twenty pieces, specially made for this event, which reproduce many of the architectures created by Terragni, taken from particular angles and views. In addition to the famous Casa del Fascio, Musa portrays other buildings, such as the Asilo Sant'Elia, the famous Novocomum and the Rustici Comolli house in Milan.
This series of works, acrylic on canvas, are made with a particular technique that is linked, in experimentation, to the decisive use of the computer: Musa chooses a particular frame, prints it, transfers the image on the scanner and processes it by reducing the starting image to its essence. Eliminated any shade of color, with the subsequent passage in painting, the vision is again reduced: on the canvas Musa summarizes, through a rigorous black and white, the quantity of elements that make up the initial structure of a frame, arriving at a simple but effective visual construction that makes him move away from the objective reality from which he started, but which in the pictorial elaboration does not disregard it.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog, published by

Fabrizio Musa (Como, 1971) has participated in numerous exhibitions in important public and private spaces. His first solo show was held in 1996 in Como (Chiostro di S. Eufemia). Among his most recent engagements, we highlight the group exhibitions in Milano Plastica d’Artista and The Celebrity Boot Collection 1973-2003 respectively at the Museum of Science and Technology and at 10CorsoComo. His first solo show in Milan has just ended at the gallery, with works inspired by the films of American director Stanley Kubrick.

Como, February 19, 2004

Tribute to Giuseppe Terragni
Brussels, European Parliament - ASP espace Coloir building
23 - 27 February 2004


For the centennial anniversary of his birth, the European Parliament wishes to remember Giuseppe Terragni, one of the most important architects of the XX century, through the paintings of one of his young fellow citizens, Fabrizio Musa. The architectural works of Terragni have communicated the symbolic value of Italian culture as present in Europe and the world. Half a century later, Fabrizio Musa interprets, through modern instruments and technologies that modern times have given him, the buildings created by Terragni, actualizing their meanings. This exhibit testifies how vivid the work of Giuseppe Terragni still is in the lves of young generations. The architectural way of Terragni, while still looking at the rest of Europe, has been able to exquisitely maintain itself faithful to the Italian cultural traditions, which have spanned from the antique days of Roman culture till today. This is the testimony of a past that maintains itself still modern, while being the source of inspiration for the culture of the XXI century. It is with great pleasure that I support and promote this initiative which, not only remembers a great figure of the Italian 1900’s, but also recognizes the variety and richness of today’s Italian cultural heritage.

On. Cristiana Muscardini


Architecture is, like any other form of art, a language.

After a few decades of capillary diffusion of semiotics amongst critics of all disciplines, no one will be willing to deny this statement. Only a few though, are able to read in it, the most immediate and obvious consequence: to consider each and every building a literary text, meaning something that can be read like an object of verbal nature.

There are architects who, through their works, evidently manifest a kind of alphabetical structure, a strong linguistic code. Giuseppe Terragni is one of them. Peter Eisenmann, one of the most relevant deconstructive architects, has written numerous refined analyses on Terragni's buildings, based on the semantics researches made by Noam Chomsky.

To pick the intimately linguistic background of his buildings, it is sufficient to observe the well known Casa Del Fascio - the intense front made of filled and empty spaces, which according to Diane Ghirardo recalls a "conversation based on antique rhetoric." One can also look at the Novocomum, with its alternating constructive styles and classic symmetries, which according to Paolo Portoghesi can allude to a "dialog between tradition and avant-garde".

Given these facts, Fabrizio Musa decided to confront the works of Terragni, whose birth centennial is celebrated this year, as if it were "something to be read." As it happens often in his paintings, Musa started from a photograph, through which he depicted the point of view from which to start his "reading". In most of Musa's photographs the cut is diagonal and the perspective is quite eccentric: as if Terragni's buildings could communicate their meanings only to indirect looks, abnormal and lateral views.

The photographs were then scanned, a typical aspect of the artist's artwork. Thanks to the scanner's filter, all the images have been translated into "textual programs," a computer language that is able to highlight the architectural alphabet that make up the buildings.

Once transposed on a canvas, the Casa Del Fascio appears as a sum of thin diaphragms which, just like punctuation in a text, are able to point out the significant spaces while subdividing the areas finalized for the various purposes and allow the osmosis of internal and external spaces in the architectural language.

Novocomum and the Sant'Elia kindergarten, when translated into the peculiar code, are depicted as pure sums of modular volumes, inlays of light effects, and combinations of linguistic elements which are uniquely eloquent.

Fabrizio Musa primarily represents his paintings in black and white. The dichromate nature of his work is functional and enables him to underline the plastic aspects of the objects, but also permits him to further look into the scheme of the image, the dense segmentation of a painting that puts together a brush and a scanner.

Musa does not only translate the buildings onto his canvas: his reading of Terragni's works contemplates a poetic license. Because of this, some of the corners of Novocomum are enlightened by unique glares, or the sky that dominates the Casa Del Fascio sometimes becomes a livid blue.

The severity of Terragni's language mixes with the arbitrary chromatic code proposed by Musa, so that one can faithfully read the grand works of the architect, through a slightly allusive artistic writing.

Roberto Borghi


"Considera ora, dissi, quale potrebbe essere la loro liberazione e la loro guarigione dalle catene e dall'insensatezza, e se non accadrebbero loro queste cose: qualora uno fosse sciolto e subito costretto ad alzarsi e levare lo sguardo in su verso la luce, e per il bagliore fosse incapace di riconoscere quelle cose delle quali prima vedeva le ombre, cosa credi che risponderebbe se uno gli dicesse che prima vedeva solo vane ombre e che ora, invece, essendo più vicino alla realtà e rivolto a cose che hanno più essere, vede più rettamente? (...)"

Platone, Repubblica, VII.

Coming out of the cave with extreme dialectic and figurative force. Coming out of the cave as way of owning your own historic and social memory.
Using a mythical comparison, maybe the most fundamental of all of Plato's philosophy, should not be seen as exaggerated, nor scary - especially when referred to a painter's artwork, even if the painter is a young artist like Fabrizio Musa.
Because if it's true that Plato represents one of the founding fathers of western culture and society, then each and everyone one of us at one point or another was fed his teachings, at which point misunderstandings are not logical and quite senseless.
In the pages of Republic, through the type of language that he himself has transmitted, the Greek philosopher was advocating a freedom from the slavery of images, from mock-ups of truths, from the shadows of ideas.
After all, our society has gotten us used to images. Everything is image; reality is image; dignity is image; truth is image; love is image.
It has never been so crucial to go beyond, to take away those ideals present in our memories, gaining ownership of the essence of things, going beyond their phenomenal nature.
It is in this way that Fabrizio Musa operates, with a personal language, even though figurative, mediated by the use of technology and of those instruments that current times have put at his disposal.
Starting from the totality of the object to be depicted, Fabrizio Musa reduces the same object to its essential core. In the exact moment in which the artist captures the objects with a camera before transposing them on canvas, he takes ownership of it, taking away its tangible elements such as color, shadows, movement, sometimes even the sounds.
IT is like this that Fabrizio Musa arrives to the intelligibility of the sensitive fact, at a more elevated vision, almost to the "idea" itself of the object, which in this case happens to be the architectural structures created by Giuseppe Terragni.
With the dryness that only black and white can give to the search for essentialism.
Arriving to the philosophical essence of Terragni's rational message, one hundred years from his birth, is Fabrizio Musa's project, one that he certainly lives up to.
His artistic view is one of a painter who does not fall prey to the historical interpretative filters.
History is what these buildings have represented and still represent in his life and in the city where most of his monuments are located.
Musa uses his own personal memory to create this creative and personal vision of Terragni's architectures. It is the memory of a young artist from Como who lives in symbiosis with the architectural creations of such an important fellow citizen.
It is not a memory intended to conserve and retain recent visions, but rather a memory of images that have always lived within him, as if they were part of his genealogical heritage.
Fabrizio Musa does not make the mistake of taking the architectural object out of its context.
Terragni and his buildings are represented as still life, but at the same time are alive in the connective tissue of society.
Therefore you see the cars, the street signs, the electric lines as background to the architectural structures, as a way to testify the intrinsic presence of them in the core of the city, and not represented at the center of an empty, inconsistent, aseptic space with the risk of making their architectural function seem unnatural.

Carlo Ghielmetti


One hundred years ago, on April 18th, Giuseppe Terragni was born – a genius architect and the father of the Italian rationalism movement.

Today, the city of Como remembers that day with a whole year of celebrations which have already interested and involved the international world of culture.

Amongst the numerous events that will take place, arises the strong will that the Council of Culture of Como has, to read Terragni’s message through the experience of a young and determined artist from Como, who is modern and real at the same time.

Fabrizio Musa, who has already gone through a significant course of painting experimentation, perfectly interprets this project. In fact in his works one can depict the character of a creative personality, who has taken the careful time to plan and “build” the image on the canvas. In these paintings - with a modern twist intended to transform the crisis and challenges of the world and society at large - the painter represents the architectural structures of the teacher of rationalism, which are still filled with logic compared to the times in which they are set.

Through his works, Musa is able to depict the duplicity of architecture: on one side, the essence of the physical fact, while on the other side, the expression of an archetype which manifests the hidden energies of pure geometries, able to express worlds, microcosms, and complex environments.

The result of such interpretations transmit the live strength of this complex dynamic, while documenting an interesting course of research and innovation.

The city of Como, which looks at the young modern artistic universe with interest and attention, fully supports the context of this high quality exhibit.

  • Sergio Gaddi
    Culture Minister for the City of Como*