The American writer Wiliam Dean Howells was one of the protagonists of American history of the nineteenth century: a discreet but curious man, he had a great lover of literature, he was First American Consul in Venice between 1861 and 1864.
Here he wrote his "Diary of a young American diplomat in nineteenth-century Venice", a refined and precious document of what the lagoon city was in the nineteenth century to which Alberto Cavalli, co-executive director of the Michelangelo Foundation, referred to when presenting the 2022 edition of Homo Faber. In fact, Howell returns an idea of the city, an urban model that feeds on the teeming and hard-working know-how of its inhabitants.
Homo Faber 2022 and the desire for a living Venice
It is also to revive that Venice that Homo Faber, organized precisely by the non-profit Geneva institution that supports contemporary artisans from all over the world, returns to the lagoon. From 10 April to 1 May, 20 days of full immersion in the world of artistic crafts and high international craftsmanship, 14 exhibitions on the island of San Giorgio, in the 4 thousand square meters of the Giorgio Cini Foundation ( partner of the event) and an off of events located in the city with the intention of relaunching Venice.
Alberto Cavalli, in the press conference for the presentation of Homo Faber 2022, underlined the importance of making Venice an active and valuable place again, declaring that craftsmanship, in all its forms, bears historical evidence to the most contemporary and interpretative interpretations, represents the recipe to save the city from its decline.
To save Venice is to save all of us
But remember that saving Venice, as Salvatore Settis wrote in his Venezia Muore (Einaudi editions) means saving all of us a little. Returning to Howells, the writer cites the extraordinary 'polarity' of what was once 'the Venetian field': a market space, where there was never a lack of a café or an inn, but above all, a place for artisan workshops, indispensable in those times. to urban life.
Where there was never a lack of "a shop of used objects where you can buy all kinds of items". Handicraft and circular economy were in short the norm in the lost cities and now they can go back to being a recipe to be reinterpreted for a nova civitas.
A journey of beauty and goodness around the world
With a ten euro ticket, Homo Faber Event, will allow us to go on a real journey of beauty and goodness around the world. Starting with a series of exhibitions dedicated to the host country, Japan, which has never renounced its vocation craftsmanship. Suffice it to recall Charlotte Perriand when she, appointed in 1940 by the Tokyo Government as a draftsman to the Department of Decorative Arts of the Ministry of Commerce, discovered the extraordinary Japanese handicraft heritage and the talent of her Masters.
In Venice, The ateliers of wonders, a photographic exhibition curated by Rinko Kawauchi, documents the activities of the National Living Treasures of Japan, whose work will be presented in the exhibition The Garden of 12 Stones, edited by Naoto Fukasawa and Tokugo Uchida. Next of Europe, curated by Jean Blanchaert and Stefano Boeri Interiors, documents a wide selection of objects made in Europe by master craftsmen and their apprentices to underline the value of cultural and design continuity. Magistral Gestures, conceived by the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship and set up in the room in front of the Last Supper, is the setting where master craftsmen from France and the United Kingdom will work under the eyes of visitors.
Italy and Japan: wonderful relationships, a project by the Cologni dei Mestieri d'Arte Foundation, is a tribute to the cultural exchange between Italy and Japan, which has always found fertile ground in Venice. Prodigious Mechanics, by Nicolas Le Moigne and Simon Kidston, is dedicated to new interpretations of Swiss mechanical automata.
Magnae Chartae, curated by Michela De Lucchi with AMDL CIRCLE, is a tribute to the variety of crafts related to paper processing, while The virtuosos of porcelain, signed David Caméo and Frédéric Bodet will represent a celebration of contemporary porcelain in Europe and Japan.
With The motif of crafts, the German Sebastian Herkner invites artisans and ateliers to interpret the geometric motif of the churchyard in front of the Basilica of San Giorgio while with Tracing Venice , De Castelli and Zanellato/Bortotto create a site-specific installation, a tribute to the mosaic floors of the Basilica of San Marco. Bellezza in fiore, again by Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship, represents an enchanted flower garden created by Sylvain Roca, interior designer and set designer, which houses a collection of glass vases by Venini.
While Details: genealogies of ornament, by Judith Clark will be an eclectic exhibition dedicated to 15 fashion houses renowned for their luxury creations. Wait in the shadowy quiet is the title of the project by Robert Wilson, dedicated to theatrical stage performances. To close the list, Eilean, by Panerai, a splendid yacht, built in 1936, which has returned to sail the waters thanks to the restoration carried out in Italy by a team of specialized masters.
Cover photo: Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, courtesy of the Giorgio Cini Foundation