A reasoning in six stages on architecture, six exhibitions that talk about designing, designing clothes, ceramics and cities, but also technological objects, x-rayed in the form of paintings and photographs that document, half-jokingly, the present and the past.
Thus in Mendrisio, in Switzerland, one goes to the Teatro dell'Architettura designed by Botta to visit a photographic exhibition with the works of Konrad, Linke and Prince, on the subject of the between architecture, territory and exhibition space; while Milan looks at Iran portrayed by photographer Walter Niedermayr who chooses architecture as the key to interpreting the country's history.
In Lucca, the Fondazione Ragghianti stages the artistic ceramics of Melotti in a dialogue with designers and artists who have used that same material.
Speaking of dialogue, one cannot ignore the epoch-making exhibition dedicated to the relationship between art and fashion in Forlì: an excellent example of thematic exhibition that recounts three centuries of style.
And style is at the center of the work of the photographer Maria Vittoria Bakhaus who exhibits her photographs of fashion and beyond at Casale Monferrato, including portraits, still lifes and bizarre chromatic.
The journey ends in Bologna with the work of the Slovak artist Milan Vagač who in the form of painting reflects on the relationship between (today's) man and technology.
Why see them: this week's selection is a kaleidoscope version of the concept of design, beyond any category: a form of communication is designed, a look at the world, a way of being. Seeing these exhibitions offers interesting starting points for finding your own answers to designing.
What Mad Pursuit. Aglaia Konrad, Armin Linke, Bas Princen, Teatro dell'Architettura Mendrisio, from April 6 to October 22
The place that hosts this exhibition is already worth a visit.
Because the Teatro dell'Architettura is a building designed by Mario Botta on the campus of the Academy of Architecture of the Università della Svizzera Italiana with the aim of giving a home to the international debate on architecture, the city and the landscape. And indeed this exhibition goes right to the point, with the work of three amazing artists.
Aglaia Kornad, Armin Linke and Bas Prince use photography to talk about architecture but stage a dialogue between the photo and the context in which is shown.
Three protagonists, therefore, of these intersections: the relationship between photography and architecture, the space represented and the exhibition space. Thus Konrad mixes buildings by great architects with anonymous ones, all photographed in black and white, to obtain a coherent amalgam that is alien to any category.
Linke, on the other hand, does archival work: he retrieves shots taken around the world throughout his career to create a new narrative out of time and space.
Finally, Prince chooses detail to speak of two- and three-dimensionality, transforming photography into something closer to sculpture. And the Theater of Architecture becomes the home of these thoughts in the form of photos.
Who will like it: it is an almost philosophical exhibition that will appeal to theorists, those who love architecture and photography, in a reasoning on space.
Useful information: Teatro dell'Architettura Mendrisio, via Turconi 25, Mendrisio (CH), open from Tuesday to Sunday from 2pm to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm.
Fausto Melotti, ceramics, Ragghianti Foundation, Lucca, until 25 June
It was 1948 when Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti wrote in the catalog of the exhibition Handicraft as a fine art in Italy in New York that the applied arts in Italy were in all respects consider themselves art.
It was the first clear dissent towards a rigid and now meaningless cataloging between 'pure', 'high' and 'low' art, declassified as simple craftsmanship.
And it was also the first meeting between Ragghianti and Melotti which would later lead to a long friendship and which today the Ragghianti Foundation celebrates together with the twentieth anniversary of the first edition of Fausto Melotti's General Catalog of Ceramics< /strong>.
The artist was present at the New York exhibition together with other innovators of Italian art, such as Afro and Mirko Basaldella, Pietro Cascella, Filippo de Pisis, Renato Guttuso, Leoncillo and others.
This time to dialogue with Melotti are instead artists and designers with whom he came into contact, directly or not: from Giacomo Balla to Lucio Fontana, from Leoncillo to Arturo Martini, from Enzo Mari to Bruno Munari, and again Gio Ponti, Emilio Scanavino, Ettore Sottsass and many others.
There are four sections of the exhibition that unfold in chronological order along Melotti's artistic experience and include the video “In prima persona. Painters and sculptors. Fausto Melotti” (1984), by Antonia Mulas, which presents the only interview in which the artist, analyzing his own path and conception of art, talks about ceramics.
Who will like it: design lovers
Useful information: Ragghianti Foundation, via San Micheletto 3, Lucca, open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 11 to 19.
Maria Victoria Bakhaus. My photography stories beyond fashion, Middle Monfest, Castle of Casale Monferrato, until 11 June
Maria Vittoria Bakhaus she loved photography so much that she also portrayed the cameras she had available. Still Life of marvelous instruments, from Leicas to bellows machines that tell a story.
First of all that of photography from a technical point of view, but then also that of Bakhaus herself who has always played with formats as well as with the stories to tell.
In this exhibition we go through the history of costume and design in Italy starting from the 70s to arrive almost to the present, along an archive full of shots outside the box.
Portraits and still lifes make up the puzzle together with fashion and design, from Filicudi to Rocchetta Tanaro, passing through the biggest brands of the fashion system.
Who will like it: lovers of design and storytelling
Practical information: Castle of Casale Monferrato, Piazza Castello, open Saturday and Sunday from 10 - 13 and 15 - 19.
Walter Niedermayr, Iran, before and after the revolution, Spazio Ersel, Milan, until to April 30
Architecture designs places, which in turn determine architectures.
If certainly a style is capable of narrating the local culture and the events that characterize that historical era and if it is true that the geological and physical conformations of the territory indicate materials and construction choices, determining the language of the territory, it is also true that architecture can be politics.
Thus Walter Niedermayr documents in his photographs the modern urban landscape, which arose in Iran </ strong> after the Islamic revolution of '79, mostly influenced by Western architecture. It is this that pervades the space, anonymously, in an incurable contrast with the ancient history of the country.
It is a Western facade, a precarious backdrop that actually reflects the ambivalence between natural landscape and artificial landscape, in an almost unreal silence, dominated by the clear light of a diaphanous sky.
Almost to say that the modern, here, serves to nourish the nostalgia of the past, of the very rich history of the country. But also to reflect on the present time, on the violently denied desire for freedom.
Who will like it: those seeking glimpses of the present, those who love photography both as a documentary tool and as an artistic medium.
Useful information: Spazio Ersel, via Caradosso 16, Milan, open from Monday to Friday from 11 to 18.
The art of fashion. The age of dreams and revolutions 1789 -1968, San Domenico Civic Museum, Forlì, until to July 2
A colossal exhibit.
This is how this journey between art and fashion (and their reciprocal influences) along three centuries of history and 300 works has been defined, including paintings, sculptures, accessories, era and contemporaries. It is the first exhibition of its kind in Italy, but it responds to an idea of curatorship that is gaining ground in Europe, centered on thematic comparison.
The works then dialogue with each other and with the viewer, in a creative magic that makes the museum offer a unique experience. Here the story is that of the style, of the dress that shapes, hides and promises the body, but also of the dress as a sign of power, protest, wealth, belonging.
Fashion is then narrated as a work and as social behavior and art as a story and feeling of the time.
The artists on display are one hundred, from Umberto Boccioni to Damien Hirst, alongside 50 stylists, from Charles Frederick Worth and Mariano Fortuny to Balenciaga and Yohij Yamamoto, with important loans from Italian museums and archives.
Who will like it: those who think that fashion is art and that art tells about fashion.
Useful information: San Domenico Civic Museum, P.le Guido da Montefeltro 12, Forlì, open Monday to Friday 9.30am - 7pm, Saturday and Sunday 9.30am - 8pm.
Milan Vagač. Black Box, Labs Contemporary Art, Bologna, from April 6 to June 3
Black Box is the black box that hides the technology we use every day with our devices.
It's all that you can't see about how they work, behind the shiny, reflective surface with which we continually interact. And it is on these black boxes that the Slovak artist Milan Vagač focuses, in an attempt at unveiling.
Which is not just an x-ray work, but an interpretative journey, to bring the hidden mechanisms of abstract devices onto the canvas. The technique is deconstructivist and the linguistic choice is the allusion: the two-dimensional painting concerns parts of the device, while the 'hidden' elements of the canvas are evident: the wooden frame and its two-dimensionality accentuated by transparency .
A double game between analog and digital, between hardware and software, between communication and its gears.
In fact, the Gizmo series takes its title from the term that indicates a machine that performs a particular task in a new and efficient way but whose real name is unknown. A black box, indeed.
Who will like it: experimenters, those who love contemporary art and those who live between digital and analogue.
Useful information: Labs Contemporary Art, via Santo Stefano 38, Bologna, open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 - 13 and 15 - 19.
Cover photo: Maria Vittoria Bakhaus