There are those, like Gio’Ponti or Nanda Vigo, that didn’t distinguish between architecture and design and jumped fluidly across fields. There are those, like Carlo Scarpa, that employed time as malleable material. And there are the subversive projects of Alessandro Mendini and Gae Aulenti and the performative sofas by Cini Boeri, challenging the body and its presence in public. When Sottssas started designing machines, he realised that these objects of everyday use, which sit next to each other and around people, can influence not only physical conditions but also emotions. They can touch the nerves, the blood, the muscles, the eyes and the moods of people. Design, subjected as it is to the laws of supply and demand, is often a close mirror not only of aesthetic revolution but also of social evolution. A project often charged by political ideology. Imagination, class and socialism running free. And then there was Postmodernism, co-opting activism and embracing capitalism. We want to appropriate this history, as some part of hidden DNA, a subconscious impulse, which appeared once in a dream and we are not yet ready to unlock.
The artists featured in the show employ architecture and product design, decorative features, domestic items, functional objects, as reference in their work: fictional nodes unfolding broader narratives and reflections on contemporaneity. Bringing spatial and physical features to the point of abstraction whilst observing historical figures and approaches to functionality, themes as consumerism, desire, class and power emerge. Capitalism is questioned through object quotation, pursued and mocked through the representation of its own desire mechanisms. Taking Milan as starting point of artistic observation, its history of creative experimentation rooted in industry as identitarian feature, artists aim at reconfiguring the present by merging sources of inspiration and discourse.
Photos byMaurangelo Quagliarella
Alessandro Agudio, Alessandro Carano, Anna Franceschini, Dario Guccio, Lorenza Longhi, Daniele Milvio, Ilaria Orsini