LOOK BACK by Nanda Vigo on Mario Ceroli and Ettore Sottsass Jr
A few words by Arch.Nanda Vigo on the installation by her.
Looking back to the past towards a Master like Ettore Sottsass Jr. and an Artist like Mario Ceroli “abetista” par excellence.
This is also a look throughout the concept of “classic” to the question “What’s going on today?”, or a “continuum” through the admiration of the previous experiences.
So they can be observed through the Murano Glasess, the Chickens by Koen Vanmechelen, or the lighting glasses – like a console or a lamp – designed by Nanda Vigo; from the tables of Carlo Trucchi to a memory of Alessandro Mendini and to the funny art pieces of the Bounty Killart.
NANDA VIGO “Nanda Vigo is one of the Italy’s most sophisticated and respected architects, both in terms of her history and her artistic and aesthetic creations. Even Sotheby has declared that this year her pieces are rated as ‘Masterpieces’.” Erastudio Apartment-Gallery presents historic architectural artworks by Italian architect Nanda Vigo. The gallery presents artworks that were created by the architect during the peak of her illustrious career of architecture and art, where she actively collaborated with some of the most celebrated architects/artists such as Giò Ponti, Lucio Fontana and Enrico Castellani. With the support of the experience she had obtained as an architect and designer, after having ex-hibited in many galleries and museums in Europe and in Italy, Architect Nanda Vigo went on to formulate a cronotopical theory of space/time which was completely original and autonomous to art. She went on with the precise intent of probing, deepening, the possibilities of sensorial stimuli obtained by the use of materials which are typical in the industry, such as glass, mirrors, neon lights, and organized a unified and encompassing reality.”
ETTORE SOTTSASS JR. (Innsbruck, 1917 – Milan, 2007) Graduated at the Polythecnic in Turin in 1939, he started his activ-ity in Milan, where in 1947 he opened his own design studio. In the 70’s he started his collaboration with Olivetti, creating with them a range of office furniture and equipment. A very versatile artist with many interests – he was involved in the various fields of artistic expres-sion. Foreseeing years of social unrest, he perceived design as an instrument of social criticism and hence gave way to Design Radicale (1966-1972) providing a new aesthetically outlook on design that was more ethically, socially and politically inclined.Having moved away from the voracity of what the industry had to offer, he got closer to the avant-guarde, to Pop Art, to plain and down-to-earth conceptual influences, proposing an alternative design in respect to that imposed by the ad-vertising media at the time. After the experimental works for Poltronova as their artistic director, Sottsass’s utopism had it’s climax in Italy with the new domestic landscape at the MoMA in New York 1972. After that he involved himself with the group Alchimia, engraving his own ideology and that of “De-sign Radicale”, in an alchemy of shapes, colors, materials which overturn the aesthetical standards and the way design is conceived compared to decoration. In 1981 he set up the Memphis group, who main aim was to analyze the value of industrial design. In 1982 he opened the “Sottsass Associates” His interest in Ceramics and design continued during his professional career which led him to meet Bitossi Ceramics in 1958. This is when he started to create ceramics under the supervision of Aldo Londi. The relationship lasted for almost 50 yrs. The ceramic totems can be recalled dating from 1962-1967 and the ceramics for Memphis, from the 1980’s.
MARIO CEROLI (Castelfrentano, Chieti, 1938) Having graduated from “Accademia delle Belle Arti” (Art Academy) in Rome, where he studied with Leoncillo, Fazzini and Colla, he was first involved in ceramics and subsequently in the 70’s through the works of Louise Nevelson and Joe Tilson, he arrived to the ma-terials and shapes that would mark his creative works, such as Russian pine wood, in its natural coarse form – which takes us back to nature, glass and the shapes containing powder colors. Be-tween 1967-1968, he took part in exhibitions related to the “Arte Povera” group. He had also been involved as screenplay director collaborating with “Il Teatro Stabile” in Turin and with “La Scala” in Milan. His sculptures remind us of famous works from the past, such as Leonardo or “ I Bronzi di Riace” (the tall brass sculptures from Calabria). Ceroli relates back to the traditional medieval craftsmen, focusing on an overall and overwhelming attraction which hold a dialogue with the spectator or beneficiary. Paraphrasing the homonymous painting by Giorgio De Chirico (1927) he started his collaboration with Poltronova with the set of furnishings: Mobili nella valle. Said pro-duction by Ceroli for Poltronova aroused great interest at the Eurodomus exhibition in Turin in 1972.
ALESSANDRO MENDINI (born 16 August 1931 in Milan) is an Italian designer and architect. He played an important part in the development of Italian design. He also worked, aside from his artistic career, for Casabella, Modo and Domus magazines. His design has been characterized by his strong interest in mixing dif-ferent cultures and different forms of expression; he creates graphics, furniture, interiors, paintings and architectures and wrote several articles and books; he is also renowned as an enthusiastic member of jury in architectural competition for young designers. He also teaches at the University of Milan. Mendini graduated from Politecnico di Milano in 1959 with a degree in architecture and worked as a designer with Marcello Nizzoli. He was the editor-in-chief of a magazine from 1980 to 1985 and changed the landscape of modern design through his quintessential works of postmod-ernism, such as the Proust Armchair and the Groninger Museum. Just as works of the Renaissance period expressed human values and sensibilities, Mendini has contributed to bringing into the heart of design those “values” and “sensibilities” that have been eclipsed by commercialism and function-alism. He collaborates with leading international brands including Cartier, Hermes, and Swarovski. Currently he runs his own practice in Milan, the Atelier Mendini, together with his brother Frances-co Mendini.
KOEN VANMECHELEN The Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen (1965) is an internationally renowned, conceptual artist. His groundbreaking work deals with biocultural diversity and identity. Over the past decade Vanmechelen has collaborated with scientists from different disciplines. That earned him an honor-ary doctorate at the University of Hasselt in 2010 and the Golden Nica Hybrid Art in 2013. Just be-fore the millennium year 2000, Koen Vanmechelen launched his Cosmopolitan Chicken Project (CCP), a unique artistic project. Central to his work are the chicken (gallus gallus) and the inter-breeding of national chicken species into ‘Cosmopolitan chickens’. He uses this animal as a meta-phor for observations around ‘la condition humaine’. In April 2013 the artist’s ongoing creation of a world-hybrid chicken reached, with the Mechelse Styrian, its seventeenth generation; a crossbreed between the Slovenian Styrian and Mechelse Senegal. One year before, this Mechelse Senegal came into existence after a crossing between the African Poulet de Senegal and the Mechelse Fayoumi (also known as the ‘biennial’ chicken). To date, the hybrid consists of regional breeds of chickens in Belgium, France, England, U.S.A., Germany, The Netherlands, Mexico, Thailand, Brasil, Turkey, Cuba, Italy, Russia, China, Egypt, Senegal and Slovenia.”
THE BOUNTY KILLART The Bounty Killart was born from a passion that blossomed at school-desks . That is how, in 2002 , Gualtiero Jacopo, Rocco D’Emilio, Dionigi Biolatti and Marco Orazi students , at the time , at the Accademia Albertina in Turin decided to join forces creating a quartet of excellence : The Bounty Killart.
Photo Courtesy Emilo Tremolada