Five exhibitions in Italy not to be missed this week and why go see them: in Rome, Milan, Forte dei Marmi, Bologna and Palermo. With a small focus on ArtCity

The idea takes shape in the drawing. Then it is achieved through the most diverse means of expression, from engineering to artistic craftsmanship. Thus art opens up unusual worlds, above all unexpected, with its questioning.

It poses questions to its audience, direct such as those on its existence and its meaning, but also indirect, on the relationship it establishes with whoever is watching it. The gaze generates dialogue with oneself but also with others. Then it is the community that enters the scene in its relationship with history, with space and with the environment.

Here's what we're talking about this week, starting with the work of the architect Angelo Mangiarotti exhibited for the first time in a very complete exhibition of architecture, sculpture and drawing.

His material and essential approach to making architecture focuses for a long time on two single elements, the beam and the pillar. These are also at the center of building, the subject of a very interesting exhibition at the Maxxi on the relationship between architecture and engineering from the post-war period to today.

From the drawing to the realization, exactly as in the exhibition dedicated to Henri Beaufour: the drawings and works on paper are studies of the form which will then become the object in his marble sculptures, but also in bronze and ceramic.

Irony guides his works, composed but always strongly impulsive, capable of strong interaction with the public. Thus the space occupied by a carpet that becomes the seat of relationships in the work of Viel, in that of the alphabetic sculptures of Schödl and in the various proposals of four young Iranian artists, up to the cinema of Yuri Ankarans.

Why see them: the exhibitions we have selected here are worlds in comparison which in turn generate comparisons with the present, with an eye to drawing intended as a study of the work. Or space, or a film or a philosophical thought. That's why seeing them: they allow you to think about the ideation.

Angelo Mangiarotti. When the structures take shape, in collaboration with the Angelo Mangiarotti Foundation, with the participation of Renzo Piano and the curatorship of Fulvio Irace, Triennale, Milan until 23 April

The one just inaugurated at the Triennale is the most complete retrospective ever proposed on the work of the architect Angelo Mangiarotti.

An essential exponent in the Italian panorama of design culture, Mangiarotti was in fact a multifaceted figure who made himself known for his experiments.

Two central elements of his architecture, the beam and the pillar, like a return to the origins or to the essence of building and designing, which he declined throughout his life in an extraordinary range of variations on the topic.

A true artist, who expressed himself through architecture, design and sculpture. And the public is invited to explore this world, along an exhibition itinerary that presents many drawings by Mangiarotti, witnesses of his creative and expressive process, accompanied by photographs, even in large format, and archival materials (including maquettes), alongside the sculptures.

The exhibition is completed by the projection of the video An Angel over Milan: Mangiarotti and the city, created specifically for the exhibition by Francesca Molteni, Muse Factory of Projects. Because Milan, although Mangiarotti was an international architect, was the scene of many of his creative forays.

In addition to having established himself in the history of architecture for his projects of factories and small industries and housing realities, he is also known as the architect of prefabrication, an interesting tool for the infinite combinatorial possibilities of the material to be assembled, which allowed the architect to almost disappear, in a sort of ideal of the anonymous architect.

His desire was to serve as a stimulus creative, through his projects, for future generations.

Who will like it: those who believe that creativity is expressed in every form of human life, those who love the history of architecture, those looking for the essential

Useful information: Triennale di Milano, viale Alemagna 6. The exhibition is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 8pm.

Technoscape. The architecture of engineering. Edited by Pippo Ciorra, Maristella Casciato, Maxxi, Rome, until April 10

What does it mean to build? What relationships does this action establish with space, the environment and man? And again, what can we build with? What are the best materials?

This interesting exhibition tries to answer these (and many other) questions which investigates the relationship between architecture, structural engineering and ecological, technological and digital innovation.

Buildings that have made history speak, from the sports hall designed by Nervi in Rome to the Sydney opera house, from the Olympic Multihalle by Frei Otto or the Beaubourg in Paris to the works by Mamoru Sasaki and others Japanese structural designers, whose existence is due to the close collaboration between architects and engineers.

And then, the journey continues until today, with the proposals of seven university research centers from all over the world, from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), via Princeton, to the major European polytechnic universities including the IUSS of Pavia.

The term building expands and then also includes fabrics, ultra-lightweight concrete and vegetable fibres as a building material, in consideration of the landscape as a fantastic disaster relief agent.

Who will like it: those who think that the future is already present in the works of the past, those who believe in multidisciplinarity and synergy

Useful information: Maxxi, Rome, via G. Reni 4/A. The exhibition is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 7pm.

ArtCity Bologna, various places in the city, until February 5th

On the occasion of Arte Fiera, Bologna kicks off Art City, an event that involves many museums in the city with a truly rich calendar. Here we report three appointments, but on the artcity you can find the complete program.

See also: Arte Fiera 2023: the news, and the (recovered) set-up by Mario Cucinella

Voices from the abyss. Four Iranian female artists in Bologna is a very significant small group show that presents the work of Pegah Pasyar, Reyhaneh Alikhani, Golzar Sanganian and Khorshid Pouyan, whose paths intertwined at the Accademia di Belle Arts in Bologna, where they graduated.
Four different languages, from oil painting to sculpture, from graphics to installations, from the reuse of materials to the ancient kilim weaving technique, speak of Persian culture, of freedom, love, suffering and identity. Gallery of Palazzo Fava – Palazzo delle Esposizioni, via Manzoni, 2, Bologna, from 2 to 5 February, free admission.

Yuri Ancarani presents his Atlantide 2017 - 2023 as an exploded view of the film Atlantis premiered in the Orizzonti section of the Venice Film Festival in 2021 and, subsequently, in numerous international festivals: a journey inside the research process and the numerous materials produced in the span of approximately six years, before, during and after the making of the film.

Which in turn is very interesting: a glimpse into the lives of the boys of Sant'Erasmo, an island in the Venice lagoon, between degradation and violence that turns into a psychedelic journey to Venice, a ghost town .

Mambo, smokestack room, via don Minzoni 14, from 2 February to 7 May.

Space is at the center of a creative work on form and language, where the protagonist is the sign.

These are the works of Greta Schödl, an Austrian artist based in Rome since the 1950s, who works on the alphabet as a communication tool capable of suggesting alternative forms of expression and interpretation. Thus letters and symbols lose their semantic meaning to become abstract, in a creative space that expands and multiplies, almost like a musical score.

On display for  The sign of our experience, Labs Contemporary Art, Via Santo Stefano 38, Bologna, until 11 March.

Who will like it: those who think that art is a universal language, those who love to discover cities through its museums and those who will be visiting Arte Fiera.

Useful information: All the information on the ArtCity Bologna appointments is on the website

Henri Beaufour. Expression, curated by Valerio Dehò, Forte Leopoldo I, Forte dei Marmi, until March 12.

An interesting discovery made by Beaufour painter, draughtsman and engraver. Because the French artist from Pietrasanta is known above all for his sculptures in marble (a material that fascinated him to the point of choosing the Tuscan town as a place of adoption due to its proximity to the quarries) but also in bronze and ceramic.

This time the sculpture is accompanied by an important selection of works on paper, to discover that practice of drawing which, in the words of the artist himself, "allows you to choose the shapes of the sculpture which is what an object."

The exhibition itinerary proceeds in a close dialogue between the different forms of expression, leading the public on a visionary itinerary in which matter and form are taken to extremes.

Instinct then seems to guide the creative act which, however, finds its breaking point in the limit. The result is there, that of an extreme tension, expressed in a controlled and composed work.

Who will like it: those who want to immerse themselves in the work of a single artist and grasp the most intimate reasons, those who fly with the imagination between the history of art and independent creation.

Useful information: Forte dei Marmi, Forte Leopoldo I, Piazza G. Garibaldi, 8A. The exhibition is open from Friday to Sunday from 10 - 13 and 15 - 19 and on Wednesday in the morning.

Cesare Viel. Foreign bodies/Touching a treasure, Villa Zito , Palermo, until March 4.

The protagonist of this exhibition is a carpet. It will be the carpet itself that creates situations of inclusion, dialogue, waiting, meeting and travel (you know, the carpet is also flying, as tradition dictates).

It was conceived and produced in Iran by Cesare Viel who thought of this object as a narrative object that lends itself to becoming a bed, a space for prayer or sharing. But also as a foreign body, which adds to something.

To a place, a house, other furnishings, a landscape. Here are the elements of this exhibition that focuses on Viel's creation to make it dialogue with the works exhibited at Villa Zito: Carlo Carrà, Renato Guttuso, Filippo De Pisis , Galileo Chini, Arturo Tosi.

The treasure of the title? It is the project, as Viel says. Which has to do with our relationship with everyday life and the creative sparks that this suggests to us.

Curated by Elisa Fulco and Giulia Ingarao, it is the last stage of the Corpi Strane project, which took place between Italy and Spain, starting from September 2022, in the form of workshops, performances and new models of artistic production.

Who will like it: those looking for the other, those who love comparison and those who believe in the questions that art poses to each of us.

Useful information: Villa Zito, via della Libertà 52, Palermo. The exhibition is open from 9.30 - 19.30. Closed on Tuesdays.