Do you know that feeling of total insecurity that you feel when you approach a new project?
That mix of emphasis and “and now where do I start?” that grips you the stomach and your head?
Probably yes, because whatever is the project which you have to take care, you already know that will have its first version, a second, a third and, hopefully, the final one will be the tenth.
You will change the words, the colors, the title, the purpose, and also the desire to work on it. Salman Sajun, a creative director who also loves to be called ‘problem solver’, in his short movie The Process tells exactly that.
And to those who are used to do this kind of work he can not fail to draw a smile.
Art hides everywhere, often in unimaginable places, such as train stations and underground spaces. Just as frequently, it’s right in front of our eyes every day, and we don’t even notice it. We’re talking about public works of art, hidden – but not so much – among the streets and buildings of Italian cities that go unnoticed. We have selected five for you to discover. Let’s find out what they are.
#1 Adolfo Wildt’s Ear
In Milan, near the famous Villa Necchi-Campiglio, specifically at the number 10 of Via Serbelloni, there is a sculpture by Adolfo Wildt, created in 1927. It is an ear, placed in a niche of the building, known by the Milanese as “La Cà de l’Oreggia.” Actually, it’s not just a sculptural work but a real intercom. In the past, you could communicate with the concierge by speaking into the ear. Because of this unique detail, it is often referred to as “Italy’s first intercom.” Today, those who visit this “hidden sculpture” whisper a wish into the ear, hoping it will come true.
#2 The building with the piercing
In Turin, there is a building with a piercing. We’re talking about the artwork “Baci Urbani” by Corrado Levi, positioned on the corner of a building overlooking Piazzetta Corpus Domini. More precisely, it’s on the corner of the fourth floor of the building located at civic number 19. The artwork was created by artist Levi in collaboration with the group of artists and architects known as Cliostraat, who aim to work on urban spaces. The decision to adorn an eighteenth-century building with a piercing, a symbol of modernity and rebellion, reflects the artists’ desire to connect tradition with a space, both in concrete and abstract terms. If you look closely, you can see that “blood” flows from the two “holes,” with one side being red and the other blue, symbolizing the blood of the proletariat and that of the nobility.
#3 Clet Abraham’s road signs
Road signs are the means through which the city communicates with its citizens, regulating its flow and movements. Building on this insight, the French street artistClet Abraham decides to artistically intervene on them, using them as genuine supports for his works. Among other cities, he also does this in beautiful Florence. The artist works extensively, focusing on the historic center. If you pay attention, you can find many of them, with some interventions located in Piazza della Signoria, Piazza Duomo, and even at the Belvedere of Piazzale Michelangelo.
#4 The Banksy‘s Madonna with the Gun
Among the five, this is perhaps the most famous, but despite being in one of the most central points of Naples, it can easily go unnoticed. We’re talking about the first intervention in Italy by the world’s most famous street artist, Banksy. It’s the artwork often referred to as “The Madonna with the Gun,” which is now protected by a display case. It is located in Piazza Gerolomini, just steps away from Via Duomo. It could be mistaken for a religious symbol, of which Naples is filled, but it is, in fact, a statement by the Bristol artist. The Madonna’s halo is replaced by a revolver, symbolizing – in a provocative manner – the increasingly close connection between the sacred and the profane.
#5 The Arnaldo Pomodoro Labyrinth
With the last artwork, we return to Milan and move away from the street. In fact, more precisely, we take you underground. We’re talking about one of the most sensational works by the sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro, who in 1995 began creating a true sculptural labyrinth. It is located in Via Solari, 35 and is a hidden gem of Milan that not everyone is aware of, partly due to its unique entrance. To access the Labyrinth, one must enter the Fendi Showroom. Once you step inside, you’ll enter the magical and mystical world of Pomodoro, who spent nearly twenty years creating this massive installation.
The two masters of painting Giacomo Balla (1871-1958) and Piero Dorazio (1927-2005) meet in Lugano in the exhibition Balla ’12 Dorazio ’60 Dove la luce at the Giancarlo and Danna Olgiati Collection, open from Sept. 24 to Jan. 14, 2024. The exhibition, with the skillful curation of Gabriella Belli and masterful staging by architect Mario Botta, stems from Danna Olgiati’s great love for Dorazio, which inevitably brings her back to Balla. The real encounter between the two artists, the former a pupil of the latter, is to be found in light. Both, in different years, experience a narrow period of research on light. More precisely, Balla did so in 1912 with the Compenetrazioni iridescenti while Dorazio in 1960 with his famous Trame. “If we look at Dorazio’s textures we see an extraordinary work of painting, a superimposition of colors. Balla, on the other hand, goes in search of the essence of light.” – says Danna Olgiati during the Sept. 22 press conference-, “The two artists I could see them combining, so I asked Gabriella what she thought of this idea and she afterwards did everything. She envisioned the exhibition and then Mario Botta did the installation.” The exhibition Dove la luce is the story of an extraordinary elective affinity between these two great masters of twentieth-century Italian art and, as curator Gabriella Belli says, serves to “focus on important points in Italian artistic research.”
The theme of light
“Light was the great theme of the nineteenth century. It was a light that wanted to restore truth, reality. For these twentieth-century artists, on the other hand, starting with Balla, light is a scientific experience. So it is no longer necessary to represent truth but to represent truth. Truth through light.” explains Belli. In this sense, the Olgiati Collection exhibition becomes essential to investigate and thus to rediscover the great work done primarily by Giacomo Balla, which is still reflected in contemporary research. “In some way, the exhibition tells about how, and what, the Futurist legacy managed to bring into the second postwar period and to feed research by so many other artists. We are talking about artists who did research other than Dorazio, but even Emilio Vedova and Fontana himself owe a debt to the Futurism of these years and especially to that of Balla. If we think about the figures who still continue to say something in contemporary times, certainly of all the artists perhaps Balla is the one who still makes an impact today.” continued Belli during the lecture, during which she gave a real art history lesson, recounting that 1912 so crucial to Balla’s research. The artist began making sketches in which he took up the geometric form of the triangle, reinventing it, or rather, using it from a scientific perspective and making it somewhat magical. In his works from this period, it is as if the artist looked through a microscope at the refraction of light and synthesized it into this form, resulting in “an exercise in abstractionism.“
Balla’s research in this field quickly petered out. These works will be hidden by the artist himself and will never be exhibited. It will be Dorazio around the end of the 1950s who will rediscover them. “For Dorazio we have chosen another topical date, 1960,” says Gabriella Belli, “That year Dorazio presents himself with a monographic room at the Biennale and chooses to exhibit the light plots. He chooses to exhibit the painting that made sense of the continuity of the line of Italian art. He makes a leap from Balla’s reconnaissance, amplifies and develops a scientific research by building a wonderful cycle of paintings. In a sense it is a homage and a conclusion to Balla’s research. They are lattices of light and color made with a light hand, diagonals weaving together. A wonderful weaving. It is a fabric of pure painting, of primary, complementary and secondary colors that intertwine with an extraordinary rhythm and consume all their energy within the frame of the canvas.”
The exhibition and the installation
The Olgiati Collection boasts the presence of many works by Balla, but they are not featured here. Most of Balla’s Iridescent Compenetrations in the exhibition come from private and museum collections, particularly from Galleria d’arte Moderna in Turin and from the Mart in Rovereto. More than 20 specimens are on display, including the very valuable postcard addressed by Balla to his friend and pupil Gino Galli in November 1912 that attests to the first news of the new research on Compenetrazioni. Dorazio’s Trame also number more than twenty. Most significant are those works in which the grid breaks up and sharply changes chromatic register, as in Time Blind (1963) and Tenera mano (1963).
Mario Botta‘s installation helps create a dynamic dialogue between the works of the two masters. The genius of the design lies in the choice of colors and shapes. Most of Balla’s works are placed on a white background, inside a niche and positioned suspended. This helps to embellish and enhance these works, which are smaller in size than those of Dorazio. The latter, on the other hand, are placed on large black surfaces that help to enhance their textures.
An illustrated catalog edited by Mousse-Milan was produced for the exhibition. More information about the exhibition can be found here.
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.
After the exhibition Stratificazioni, ArtNoble is inaugurating Giovanni Chiamenti‘s solo exhibition today, September 27. The title, The Metabolic Era, hints at the exhibition’s theme. Through his artwork, Chiamenti addresses the idea that we are what we eat, shedding light on recent scientific discoveries that reveal how humanity and many other life forms inadvertently ingest micro and nano-plastics, thus altering their very essence through metabolic processes. The Metabolic Era invites viewers to explore the remnants of hybrid creatures that have evolved amidst the plastic waste generated by a humanity that feeds on its own toxic waste.
The exhibition, accompanied by a text by Treti Galaxie, offers visitors a fascinating journey into a world suspended between the past, present, and future with an artistic-scientific perspective. Giovanni Chiamenti’s practice operates at the intersection of art, geology, biology, biotechnology, and chemistry. His intent is to transcend the Anthropocene and propose alternative paradigms for the survival of the planet and the coexistence of species. Moving between science fiction and the realm of imagination but firmly anchoring his research in rigorous scientific studies, Chiamenti’s work gains relevance in the contemporary context by envisioning positive proposals for a new era of symbiosis between humanity and nature.
With The Metabolic Era, ArtNoble invites visitors to reflect on the profound connections between humanity, nature, and the environment. Through Chiamenti’s visionary art and interdisciplinary exploration, viewers are encouraged to contemplate the consequences of our actions on the planet and imagine a more harmonious coexistence between humans and non-human life forms in an ever-evolving world we inhabit. All the works on display are new, except for Cortex, a 2019 3D stereolithography piece that foreshadows Chiamenti’s current research.
The exhibition is open from Sept 27 (18-21) until Nov 9 Courtesy Giovanni Chiamenti and ArtNoble Gallery Ph Credits Michela Pedranti