This week the planning is the driving force: the project is the basis of every artistic, architectural or artisanal research, told in the six exhibitions selected in this article.
There are six, it's true: we've added a Parisian one, ready to unveil the new Marc Newson collection, always focused on the relationship between classic shapes and new production technologies.
Remaining in France, but this time only as the country of origin of the architect in question, Jean Prouvé is on display with some of his objects produced by Vitra to tell the story of his life, between painting, sculpture, music and industrial production.
Eclecticism also embraces Sonia Delaunay, known for her works on fashion and color, but also for her forays into poetry, painting and other forms of expression, all taken up and reconsidered by two contemporary artists who talk about her in an interesting investigation into her working method.
And it is the method that defines the English collective Åbäke which in 20 years has never stopped questioning how to put graphic design at the service of art, publishing and dance.
Giuliana Balice and her sculptures seem to design the spaces that they themselves will then occupy while the great Jimmie Durham is in Naples with an exhibition that uses irony to destroy habits, clichés and rigid and obsolete forms of thought.
Isn't this a project too?
Why see them: training lateral thinking is a fantastic art: it releases unprecedented fantasies and ingenious solutions. And designing has to do with this modus operandi. To be traced in these six exhibitions.
Jean Prouve. Installation, curated by Vitra, Adi Design Museum, Milan, until February 12
If you observe the objects designed by Jean Prouvé carefully, you will recognize an artistic use of colour, almost like a painter. And if you then close your eyes for a moment, you will be able to perceive the music that those objects emanate, especially if you have observed some small series.
Take the stools, for example, and their different colours: they are like notes on a stave whose duration is determined by the colour.
Indeed, his first creations were influenced by the creative environment in which he was immersed, the son of a pianist mother and a painter and sculptor father.
His objects, from simple seats to lamps, from furniture to prefabricated elements for the construction of facades and prefabricated houses, were much appreciated by the greats of the time: Le Corbusier, Léger, Calder above all.
Then his story continued: Jean gave birth to the Ateliers Prouvé and then worked as an engineer on a series of important Parisian building projects, until 1971, when he played a decisive role in choosing the Piano project and Rogers for the Centre Pompidou.
An eclectic character always hovering between architecture, engineering and craftsmanship, he has always chosen industrial materials to create his design pieces and the most up-to-date technologies to put them at the service of the building industry.
But it is perhaps the color </ strong> that plays a decisive role in all of his production.
His Blé Vert, a particular point of green that recalls young wheat and the Gris Vermeer directly borrowed from the paintings of the Flemish painter are a classic example, but to enhance the nature of the material Prouvé thought that only the part exposed to the greatest wear should be painted in a piece of furniture.
The result is a very special product, with a precious yet spartan aura. Much appreciated by Vitra which since the 1980s has been producing some now timeless pieces by the French architect, now on display in a special installation at Audi Design.
Warning: it stays open for a very short time!!
Who will like it: design lovers, those who like to use all five senses to visit an exhibition, collectors.
Useful information: Adi Design Museum, Piazza Compasso d'Oro 1, Milan, from 25/1 to 12/2. The exhibition is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10.30 - 20.
Åbäke. Deep Publishing, MACRO - Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Roma, until March 5
Åbäke is a collective born in London in 2000. The founders, Benjamin Reichen, Kajsa Ståhl, Maki Suzuki and Patrick Lacey, can be defined as graphic designers because their editorial approach is extremely planning. Indeed, collectively design. Because it is precisely the work of the group that is characterized by a particular method: making production both a process and a product at the same time.
Which means, in the case of a collective, transforming the work of different minds, of different visions, but constantly compared to achieve something.
Whether it's for publishers, writers, artists, dancers, it doesn't matter. What matters is the process itself. And this exhibition, with the significant title Deep Publishing, tells exactly this, through the works created in Venice in the last two years, but the expression of a method developed over two decades.
The exhibited material includes a series of extracts from publications created in collaboration with Alice Grandoit-Êutka (Deem Journal) and Isabel Lewis (HGB Leipzig Class for Performative Arts), printed at the Grafiche Veneziane cooperative; Watermarks, sheets of shiny silver paper produced through a customized process that restores pre-printed materials, conceived with designers Maximage and Marietta Eugster and 100 Lions, multiple series of textile printing techniques developed together with Malefatte, the screen printing laboratory of the Santa Maria prison Major of Venice.
Finally, Prem Krishnamurthy, designer, author and educator, has written a series of texts reflecting on Åbäke's decades-long practice.
Who will like it: those who keep looking for high-quality editions, artists' books and typographic research, those who believe that printing will never die and those who love working with others.
Practical information: MACRO, via Nizza 138, Rome, until 5 March. The exhibition, with free admission, is open from Tuesday to Friday from 12 - 19; Saturday and Sunday 10 - 19.
Jimmie Dhuram. Humanity is not a completed project, MADRE, Naples, until 10 April.
He was a great storyteller, Jimmie Durham. One of those prolific, eclectic, ironic artists, capable of assembling composite stories to represent the contemporary.
His works were sculptures, videos, poems, performances, installations, paintings, drawings, collages, prints and essays. All and always intimately stuffed with a humor capable of shaking up clichés and consolidated languages to propose new looks.
Thus he created "illegal combinations with rejected objects", using natural and industrial materials, but also reflections on the concepts of authenticity, identity, truth and nation - Veracity and Voracity, we read on two of his first sculptural signs.
In fact, words have always had an important function in his works, including those that included architecture, in this case investigated in its relationship with religious texts and dogmas and with the traditional categories of European art.
This is why his language has given birth to a new semantics of aesthetics: shifts of meanings, plays on words, sounds and inscriptions are its grammar.
To discover the genius of this artist, the MADRE museum hosts the first Italian retrospective, with over 150 works, some of which have never been exhibited before.
Who will like it: those who play with words, those who believe that irony is the engine of life, those who do not want to give up their critical sense.
Useful information: MADRE Museum, via Settembrini 79, Naples, until April. The exhibition can be visited every day from 10 to 19.30, Sundays from 10 to 2. Closed on Tuesdays.
Meris Angioletti and Ulla von Brandenburg. On the dress she has a body. Notes on Sonia Delaunay, XNL Piacenza Centre of contemporary art, cinema, theater and music, until April 16
The idea is to wear an exhibition, just like a dress, to rethink (or even pay homage to) the work of Sonia Delaunay.
His chromatic investigations declined between fashion and design have made history, in particular his project of 'simultaneous dress', built through a combination of colors and shapes, to transform itself into the message of an anti-modernity modern, androgynous, neither masculine nor feminine, dynamic and fluid, which experiences the body as a laboratory for aesthetic and social research.
That's why wearing an exhibition, which also talks about poetry, painting, design, cinema and sculpture. But above all it talks about the work of two artists around the figure of Delaunay (and her Atelier Simultané), Meris Angioletti and Ulla von Brandenburg. The fabric, the body, the space and the music are the elements that make up the reflections and the exhibition itinerary itself.
Who will like it: the curious, fashion lovers, those who believe that knowledge of the past is the means to build the future.
Useful information: XNL Piacenza, via Santa Franca 36, Piacenza, until 16 April. The exhibition is open from Friday to Sunday from 10.30 - 19.30.
Giuliana Balice. Unstable balances, Sabe foundation for art, Ravenna, until April 1st
The imbalance of the title indicates the research underlying all of this artist's work which focuses on the practicability of space. But it is pure forms that project their volumes to determine their presence in the environment.
But it is not a statement but rather a proposal: to rethink a unity between existence and form.
Thus the public is offered an interesting experience because the objects are sculptures of industrial materials that determine the space in which they are placed, defining it as an architectural element would.
One wonders then about the meaning of environment, in its distinction from that of space, as well as of sculpture and architectural element, but one also thinks about the relationship between form and matter, falling into the (perfect) trap of Balice who poses a simple but enigmatic question: what is the relationship between form and existence?
Who will like it: those looking for the essential, sometimes visible to the eye; to those who love the artistic research of the 60s and to those who are ready to experiment with other looks.
Useful information: Sebe Foundation for art, via Pascoli 31, Ravenna. The exhibition is open from Thursday to Saturday from 16 - 19.
Marc Newson, Gagosian, Paris from January 25 to March 18
“Design is about making things better and looking to the future, pushing technology forward. For me, as a designer, it's a great opportunity to improve what already exists, to simplify, beautify and improve technologically”.
Word of Marc Newson who now concentrates his research on classic forms of iconic objects, to rethink their materials according to the new technologies available.
The result is a collection that resonates with the past as well as the present, on display in this Parisian exhibition. Which presents Cloisonné White and Blue Lounge and Cloisonné White and Blue Chair (both from 2022), perfect for describing Newson's thinking in terms of form and surface.
The use of the ancient cloisonné technique recalls his roots as a jeweler and silversmith. Enamel working on large furniture made it necessary to develop new production methods: copper inlays are applied and then enamelled and fired in special kilns up to 12 times.
Blue Glass Chair (2017), a seat in massive molten glass composed of quarter spheres, is also made thanks to a production that follows a highly controlled process that lasts months in a huge furnace.
Then? More surprises, in a continuous dialogue between ancient and new techniques, classic and contemporary shapes and traditional materials, which come to blend function and form, for a possible design.
Who will like it: the followers of Marc Newson and his design philosophy, those who imagine worlds in which to live ever more curious and full of beauty, those who know how to appreciate craftsmanship.
Useful information: Gagosian, 9 Rue de Castiglione, Paris, from January 25th to March 18th. The exhibition is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10.30 - 18.30