Five exhibitions in Italy not to be missed this week and why go see them: in Venice, Milan, Bologna and Rome
For this week, from 9 to 15 January, we have selected for you 5 exhibitions not to be missed in Italy.
These are exhibitions which, even when they deal with painting or photography, still offer a planning angle, linked to design and architecture, and a strong focus on the real daily life of people.
The selection you find below is in fact focused on everyday life, told in different eras and through different points of view - first of all disciplinary and expressive.
Here is why to go and see them: we are talking about man's gaze on man, of the one who designs worlds, inhabits them, undergoes them (also), restores them, preserves them. And then, it's the last chance to see some exhibition that is about to close!

Architecture and civil commitment. Nani Valle and Giorgio Bellavitis - Sparc*, Venice until 15/1

A life together that of Fernanda Valli known as Nani and her husband Giorgio Bellavitis, founding architects of the homonymous studio in Venice. They do everything from the design of lamps, armchairs and other design elements, to hospitals and new buildings, but what catalyzes their attention is above all the restoration of the city of Venice.

The Problem Venice, as it is called, has been a constant in the study since the early 1960s, which translates into projects, but also into theoretical essays and animated discussions at the university , above all by the hand of Nani, a professor at the IUAV.

And now the Problema Venezia occupies the central part of the exhibition dedicated to their work, which also features playful examples of their versatile and creative collaboration, alongside very interesting materials on the politics of restoration and the philosophy of urban planning . 

Who will like it: architecture scholars and city enthusiasts, who like to get lost in the recent and past stories of their buildings, but above all those who love Venice.

Useful information: SPARC*, Spazio Arte Contemporanea, Campo Santo Stefano, San Marco 2828a, Venice. The exhibition is open from Monday to Friday, 10.00 - 18.00. Free admission

Head and Tails: the parallel convergences of Swiss and Italian design - Adi Design Museum, Milan, until February 5, 2023

At the center of the exhibition is a miniature of the Cervino - Matterhorn mountain. It indicates the North-South axis between Switzerland and Italy and alludes to the distance between two worlds, profoundly marked by an imposing, almost impassable border. Or not. Because the mountain is the enchanted one and must be protected, together, from both the Italian and Swiss sides.

The mountain is dialogue, similarity, convergence of parallel lifestyles, forced never to meet. Or not. Because the curators of this exhibition tell the story of  two entities in their real convergences and divergences, along a path that winds from the design of the past to today's proposals.

Between a certain functional minimalism of the Swiss mold and a pictorial and playful creativity of Italian design, important stylistic convergences and abysmal divergences can be identified. Yesterday like today. Or not? 

Who will like it: those who love oxymorons and those who are inclined to transform constraints into creative challenges.

Useful information: Adi design Museum, Piazza Compasso d'Oro 1, Milan. The exhibition is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10.30 - 20.00. Ticket for 12 euros.

The Cortona chandelier - Louis Rovati Foundation, Milan, until March 5, 2023

He had never moved from there, from the museum that welcomed him for the first time at the end of the 19th century, after the decision by the Cortona institution to buy it from a private individual who asked for a decidedly stellar sum to get rid of it.

To tell the truth, he once left the Museum of the Etruscan Academy and the City of Cortona, to show himself at the Circus Maximus in Rome in November 1938: questions of autarkic policies. And now this incredible bronze chandelier is exhibited in Milan, to tell how the Etruscans illuminated the spaces of their daily life.

An object of proto-design, one might venture, due to the richness of the decorations and the craftsmanship of metal working, both hot and cold, in the creation of an object for common use. Of course, one shouldn't exaggerate: the chandelier was already a precious artifact at the time, created for an equally precious place: a temple, one thinks, a sanctuary. But to shed light, to clarify: a common need.

Who will like it: historians, but also creatives who can draw inspiration from the beauty of every era, and designers, ready to grasp forms and functions.

Useful information: Fondazione L. Rovati, Corso Venezia 52, Milan. The exhibition is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10.00 - 20.00. Ticket at 16 euros.

Patrick Procktor. A view from a window - Palazzo Bentivoglio, Bologna, until 5 February 2023

It is said of him that he was a Marxist and a snob, a homosexual and a family man, a traveler to exotic places and a frequent visitor to Venice. Eccentric character, certainly, and very lively, associate of David Hockney and greatly influenced by Francis Bacon, he manages to develop a style that is always ironic and never predictable. He prefers watercolor, with which he portrays portraits and landscapes always poised (or in tension) between depth and lightness.

Surface values, that is, constantly dialogue with those of depth to make fun of both extremes, or at least question them.

His work was essential in the London art scene between the 1960s and 1970s, but it still remains little known and this Italian solo exhibition certainly has the merit of dedicating about 60 works to him through which to discover him. The selection obeys a precise common thread: the opening of a window. Here's what Procktor sees from the window. Indeed, from the windows of the world.

Who will like it: those who investigate emotions and the human soul, those who are interested in the landscape and those who choose rooms with a view on every trip.

Useful information: Palazzo Bentivoglio, via del Borgo di S. Pietro 1, Bologna. The exhibition is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11.00 to 18.00.

William Klein ROME Plinio De Martiis - Slaughterhouse, Rome, until February 26, 2023

We are in the 50s, that decade that made Rome a magical territory. Because it contained a thousand contradictions, a thousand lifestyles, riches, poverty, squalor, sarcasm, bonhomie and extreme cultural refinements. Rome was a miniature of the world, with such a strong character that it was unique, extreme and essential.

To tell this world think two exceptional photographers, never approached before in an exhibition: the American William Klein and the Roman Plinio De Martiis. The first is known, he made his fortune with a book on the city of New York that shocked the public and was loved by Federico Fellini. So when Klein found himself in Rome to offer himself as assistant to the director, the director caught him off guard: "I have your book, I keep it on my bedside table".

And then Rome becomes narrative territory for Klein's lens, who portrays it all, with no holds barred. De Martiis is considered the greatest gallerist of the time, but before that he was a phenomenal photographer. He too traveled around Rome, but he loved to tell Italy, journalistically. That is, as the journalists used to say at the time: without haste.

“I hate the hit and run”, he had declared in commentary on his shots of the flooding of the Tiber at Ponte Milvio. His is a social story, told with love, which in Rome focuses on the most disadvantaged neighborhoods. And then there is Pasolini. This exhibition is conceived in dialogue with the figure of Pier Paolo Pasolini, following whom Klein moved in that precious 1956. A true friendship never arose with De Martiis, but their looks, together, gave light to the suburbs.

Who will like it: photography enthusiasts, anyone looking for exhibitions with a strong curatorial impact, anyone who likes Pasolini.

Useful information:Slaughterhouse, Piazza Orazio Giustiniani 4 - Testaccio - Rome. The exhibition is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11.00 to 20.00. Tickets for 8 euros.

Cover photo: Installation of the exhibition “Friuli: memory, participation, reconstruction”, Piazza San Marco, Venice, 1976. Photo Mark Smith
© Iuav University of Venice, Project Archive, Giorgio Bellavitis and Nani Valle fund