Antonio Colombo Contemporary Art Gallery is getting ready to host, starting from tomorrow, September 27th, an exhibition that is a celebration of art, creativity, and family. “ZaLiZaZa: Family Inventory,” curated by Francesca Pellicciari, presents a collection of unique and fascinating works created by artists who share the deepest bond possible: blood. These artists are Miro Zagnoli (Za), Emi Ligabue (Li), and their talented daughters, the illustrator Olimpia Zagnoli (Za) and the costume designer Emilia Zagnoli (Za). The ZaLiZaZa family embodies a harmonious fusion of modernity and tradition. If we were to close our eyes and imagine this family in a bygone era, we could easily picture them at work in a Renaissance or Baroque workshop, passionately experimenting with new painting techniques or revolutionizing styles. In reality, this image is not far from the truth of the ZaLiZaZa family in the 21st century. Each family member is immersed in their own artistic realm, often overlapping with each other and constantly engaging in research and experimentation. The strength of this family nucleus lies in their shared language and their very own family lexicon.
The exhibition itinerary of ZaLiZaZa: Family Inventory is a work of art in itself. It consists of an eclectic inventory of works of various kinds and nature: drawings and photographs, wooden books, collages, object-sculptures, fabrics, screens and magic boxes. This exhibition is a dense dialogue of correspondences, in which the four artists’ voices alternate and overlap without any precise chronological order. The dialogue is accompanied by a selection of apparatuses that document the creative process and at the same time reveal the constant presence of art in the ZaLiZaZa’s private life, through sketches, notes, postcards and family photographs.
It is no coincidence that many themes and subjects are repeated among the ZaLiZaZa. For decades, design has permeated Miro’s (Za) photographic work and is often reflected in Emi’s (Li) work as well, whether it’s Albini’s Cicognino, the life and work of Charlotte Perriand, or an anonymous design found online. “I have no taboos, no respect or norms,” Emi says. The same spirit of experimentation with unconventional materials can be found in Emilia’s (Za) “Souvenir” series of clothes, made from tourist tea towels with a map of the Belpaese. Meanwhile, Olimpia (Za) traces thousands of lines, constantly searching for the perfect synthesis between the idea and its representation.
In addition to design, mountains, figures, bodies, portraits, chiaroscuros and balconies, a unique quality persists in the different generations of the ZaLiZaZa, an essence that recalls Matisse’s words to Picasso: “After all, Picasso, we don’t have to be clever. You are like me: what we are all trying to find in art is the atmosphere of our first communion.” The ZaLiZaZa look at the world through the eyes of a child, preserving the wonder and purity that only art can capture.