Odessa Steps. The Potëmkin Staircase between cinema and architecture.

The MAN Museum in Nuoro is hosting from 3rd March, a previously unseen and important exhibition, curators Giovanni Francesco Tuzzolino and Federico Crimi, dedicated to the history and the myth of the Odessa Steps, renamed by popular culture as the “Potëmkin Staircase” following the success of the 1925 film by Sergej Michajlovič Ėjzenštejn, The Battleship Potëmkin.

The original design of the staircase, a monumental hinge connecting the sea and the city, was created in the 1830s, by the architect Francesco Carlo Boffo (1796-1867), a figure of great interest, both because of his architectural experimentation with themes related to urban space, and because of his role as an interpreter of Italian architectural culture, giving the multicultural Odessa, a melting-pot of various cultures and cosmopolitan cities as well as a free port, that unmistakable classic aspect also betrayed by the choice of a Greek name for the city.
The MAN Museum, directed by Chiara Gatti, reflects on a historical episode that nevertheless has a topical value, in the context of the tragic conflict in Ukraine, exactly one year after its beginning.

The story of Boffo and his staircase could not but intertwine with that of a film that has made this panorama universally known in the eyes of the public of the twentieth century, transforming a masterpiece of nineteenth-century architecture into an icon of the big screen, thanks to the concise, violent and dramatic montage of the famous sequence by Ėjzenštejn, etched in the collective imagination in the film The Battleship Potëmkin, commemorating the mutiny of Russian sailors against the despotism of the Russian Empire in 1905. It was viewed as the initial step towards the revolution that would lead a few years later to the Soviet Union.

Architecture and cinema alternate along the entire route of the exhibition, at times immersing into the constructive analysis of the staircase, and then reviewing the frames and stills of a film that has been a pioneer in film making and which exalts in its own shots, the formal details of the cinematographic ramp. Period panoramas and new views duet with the ingenious solutions of Ėjzenštejn’s direction at the centre of the video installation that tells its genesis.

Boffo is the main author of many public spaces, of some representative architecture and above all, of the famous staircase that is a symbol of the place, that connects the esplanade of the port to the Place de Richelieu. The exhibition will include drawings provided exceptionally by the Odessa Archive, original plans of the city on loan from prestigious Italian institutes, including the National Central Library of Florence and the Historical Archives of Turin, as well as the reconstruction of drawings and a scale model made thanks to the collaboration with the University Territorial Pole of Agrigento and the University of Palermo.

The volume accompanying the exhibition Odessa Steps is published by Libria publishing, based in Melfi in the Basilicata region, Italy. It works in the field of contemporary architecture and landscape in an international dimension. www.librianet.it

The volume
‘Odessa Steps.
The Potëmkin Staircase between cinema and architecture’
144 pages + front cover
Format: 23 X 28 cm
flexible front cover
stitched paperback

Graphic project: Giulia Boccarossa
Publisher: Libria Editrice, Melfi (PZ) Italy
Printed by: Tecnostampa Loreto (AN) Italy

For further information
The exhibition “Odessa Steps


Utilizziamo i cookie per offrirti la migliore esperienza online. Accettando l'accettazione dei cookie in conformità con la nostra politica sui cookie.