E te, beltade ignota
A short play on Fiction and Realism
Associating architecture, reality and fiction presents more than one snag.
Neither reality can be reduced to fiction (and vice versa); nor architecture can be described as either “real” or “fictional”. On the one hand, it might appear that architecture is always “real” in the sense that anything that is material is real. On the other, architecture can be understood as rarely real and more obviously fictional. In this case, architecture is defined as a discipline narrowly confined to the metaphorical embodiment of cultural values.
Notwithstanding this dualistic separation of fiction from reality in architecture, the thesis of this short essay will concern the possibility of finding some connections between these two definitions. In order to deepen this complex relation, then, this text will consider two artworks that are–apparently – characterized by two very different levels of fiction and realism.
The first one is Victorien Sardou’s/Giacomo Puccini’s “Tosca”, a play in which fantasy takes place in the real world. While the second one is Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s “Campo Marzio dell’Antica Roma” where the real and fictional inventions are mutually entangled.