Paolo Portoghesi, Banca popolare del Molise a Campobasso, 1985, Galleria civica di Modena

“The great thing about being an architect is that you can walk into your dreams,” stated Harold Wagoner. And it was this desire to provide visitors with the chance to walk into architects’ dreams that led us to come up with Macchine per abitare, a selection of works from our Collections displaying dreams transformed into concrete realities, rendered and interpreted by the eye and heart of photographers, as well as those that remained on paper at the planning stage, the only testimony of which being entrusted to fleeting pencil or pen strokes, displayed here on the walls of Palazzo Santa Margherita.

Naturally, also much of the Gabriele Basilico solo show featured at the Palazzina dei Giardini is linked to the architectural theme, with images – the result of three shoots on the territory in 1994, 2001 and 2011 – which mainly represent buildings and views of Modena and its surrounding areas. Although less known to the general public yet nevertheless of great interest is the series Dancing in Emilia, produced by Basilico in 1978, today back once again in the Galleria Civica di Modena, which displayed it for the first time in 1980.

Put together almost entirely by exploiting the museum’s own heritage, depending only to a small degree on loans from prestigious cultural institutions, – such as the Fondazione Fotografia di Modena, and the Istituto Beni Culturali della Regione Emilia-Romagna and the Biblioteca civica d'arte Luigi Poletti – the exhibitions are made up of a total of more than 200 works, including photographs, drawings and architectural plans, and also feature a broad selection of unpublished materials or at least ones never displayed before, as is the case of the drawings of Cesare Leonardi, which the Galleria Civica was recently asked to house by the well-known Modenese architect and designer himself. Of particular relevance is also the rich set of papers donated by Tullio Zini, one of the key protagonists of contemporary architectural research and practices, to whom we are especially grateful for his illuminating and authentic words with which he himself introduces us to his work.

Special thanks also go to the Emilia- Romagna Regional Council, which supported the project, and to the Urban History Research Office of Modena City Council, without whose precious collaboration we would lack today an important element of the overall project. The theme of the home and that of building both underpin a landscape which accommodates both crowded dance floors and deserted urban outskirts, glimpses of architecture and decommissioned industrial areas, single buildings and overarching urban visions, the fertile soil in which The Soul Garden, a short story on the eternal dwelling, is rooted, and which Ermanno Cavazzoni has kindly decided to donate to us.

There is also space for collaboration projects, with the Amici della Musica di Modena and various other personalities from the world of culture among the initiatives featured in the calendar of upcoming events, such as those starring the saxophonist David Brutti and the photographer Giancarlo Pradelli.