In the years after his graduation from the Universidad Central de Venezuela, Rigamonti created this work as part of a powerful series titled Collages sobre la Ciudad (Collages about the city). Combining photographs and found images from magazines with imaginary drawings of architectural and territorial interventions, the series reflects on both the triumphs and perils of large-scale industrialization.
Born in Italy, Rigamonti emigrated with his parents at age ten to Caracas, where he trained in and went on to teach architecture for his entire professional life. He became involved with the development of the petroleum industry in and around Lake Maracaibo, and with the creation of Ciudad Guayana, a planned city built to accommodate a growing steel industry and its workers.
During Venezuela’s precipitous development in the second half of the twentieth century, Rigamonti evolved a highly original and provocative intellectual position on the ways in which industrial and transportation infrastructure were changing the country. His own work was deeply influenced by the Japanese Metabolist architects and the speculative proposals of the British group Archigram. His collages are a visual commentary on the national attention to heroic engineering, the infrastructural transformation of Caracas, and the work of resource extraction from the Venezuelan countryside. Today the combination of utopian and dystopian elements in these mixed-medium works resonates powerfully with contemporary debates on the benefits and costs of environmental exploitation in light of a generalized ecological crisis.
Publication excerpt from MoMA Highlights: 375 Works from The Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2019)