In this artist’s book Viaggio sul Reno (Journey on the Rhine) 1974, Ugo La Pietra drew inspiration from his notes and photo shoots taken in 1974, by reshaping and reconsidering them in a contemporary perspective. This Rhine cruise, from Düsseldorf to Basel, was an artistic experience of Ugo La Pietra, conducted together with the Global Tools Communication Group, composed of Franco Vaccari, Gianni Pettena and Guido Arra. Global Tools (1973-75) included an experimental and multidisciplinary program of educational workshops with the aim of stimulating the free development of individual creativity.
With the trip / performance on the Rhine, the artists explored the theme of “communication” in a closed and segregated environment, such as that of a trip organised on a boat: from this limited context, marked by regular rhythms and by a reduction at the minimum terms of any influence from the outside world, the participants’ behaviour, their interactions, in short, the communication processes emerge.
«Those who uses their own experience, at the risk of losing their identity, emptying themselves little by little, are able to communicate.
Those who gather information and become caught up in notions, protecting and incrementing their self-image, are unable to communicate».
Ugo La Pietra
Ugo La Pietra was born in Bussi sul Tirino (Pescara) in 1938, he is originally from Arpino (Frosinone), he lives and works in Milan. An architect by training, he is an artist, editor and teacher. He definines himself as a researcher in communication systems and in visual arts since 1960, moving simultaneously in the worlds of art and design. A tireless experimenter, he crossed different currents (from Informalism and Conceptual Art to Narrative Art and artist’s cinema) and used multiple mediums, conducting research that were embodied in the theory of the “Disequilibrating System” – autonomous expression within Radical Design – and in important sociological themes such as “The Telematic Home” (MoMA, New York, 1972 – Fiera di Milano, 1983), “Real Space / Virtual Space” (Triennale di Milano 1979, 1992), “The eclectic Home” (Abitare il Tempo, 1990), “Beach Culture” (Centro Culturale Cattolica, 1985/95). He transmitted his work through numerous exhibitions in Italy and abroad, and he also curated several exhibitions at the Triennale di Milano, the Venice Biennale, the Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon, the FRAC Centre in Orléans, the International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza, the Fondazione Ragghianti in Lucca.
He always critically maintained the humanistic, significant and territorial components of design through his artworks and objects, as well as his work in teaching, theory and publishing.