The illustrator talks about his exhibition "The Dreamer, stories from another world", among maxi inflatable rabbits and dreamy settings

Outside, a maxi luminous inflatable rabbit on the roof, inside, plush-effect walls and out-of-scale sculptures, in a dreamy setting that is somewhat reminiscent of the fantastic universe of Alice in Wonderland. It is the exhibition The Dreamer, stories from another world, the first solo exhibition of the illustrator Emiliano Ponzi, until March 5 strong> at the Sun Ke villa in Shanghai.

Emiliano Ponzi talks about his first solo show in Shanghai

“Every project, metaphorically, must first be dreamed of and only then can it be transformed into something physical, tangible and with defined contours. Hence the title The Dreamer, stories from another world, which is linked to all the images I have drawn in over twenty years of work now".

“I told stories from another world because most of the projects were made in Europe and America, except some original pieces that we thought for the exhibition as a tribute to the great Chinese culture and the anniversary of the new year of the rabbit .

The spark came from Vito Plantamura, my agent in Shanghai who almost ten years ago created VCollettive, an agency that works with artists from all over the world in China market.

The Sun Ke villa has shown great interest in my work and has granted us their spaces for two months, their mission is also to spread culture. Vito and I put together a small team because we wanted everything to be perfect: the curation and abstract by Maria Vittoria Baravelli who was also the creator of the title, the exhibition designer is Andrea Sguerri, architect and designer active in Shanghai.

We also asked for advice from one of the most important Italian sinologists, Giada Messetti. Precisely because when I speak of perfection I am referring to an intellectual as well as an aesthetic trait: respect for Chinese culture, entering a special place by understanding its semantics without forcing or semiotic misunderstandings.

The whole operation was also possible thanks to the Marvis brand that believed in and supported the event. The Italian cultural institute of Shanghai, the director Francesco D'Arelli and the ICE were present at the inauguration, which we were very pleased as a sign of great attention for an Italian event of this magnitude in China”.

How contemporary illustration can dialogue with historical Chinese architecture

“The Sun Ke villa which houses the exhibition was built in the 1930s by the Slovak-Hungarian architect Laszlo Hudec on the mandate of Sun Ke, son of Sun Yat-sen, considered the father of modern China”, continues Emiliano Ponzi.

“The Spanish-style architecture incorporates Italian Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic elements, it is a jewel of architecture within the Columbia Circle, and therefore the only limit we had, precisely in respect of the structure, was that of not interfere with the architecture, the perimeter walls and some furnishing accessories.

In this, Andrea Sguerri did an extraordinary job guiding us through the floor plan and renderings of the villa in order to construct the exhibition in a form that would integrate perfectly with the spaces.

Hence, in the libraries in the villa there are books whose covers I made as if they had been placed there after reading.

Screens with my illustrations separate the spaces, on the tables there are pages of my books for the MoMa and Penguin Books.

And then, in addition to the sixty of my archive works, there are new sculptures, namely rabbits created to pay homage to the lunar new year. A large inflatable rabbit and bright dominates the terrace of the villa, it can be seen from afar and invites you to enter the dream, to get lost among the works and let yourself be enveloped by the soft room that we have dedicated to Marvis, a pop space , all built in shaggy carpet.

And then My precious pillow, my first sculpture, in glass resin, the flagship of the Shanghai manufactures.

We have also made a video, by Marco Rosella, where the curator and I talk about the exhibition, a sort of guide on the intentions of the whole exhibition that visitors can consult to orient yourself between the rooms”.

With his pencil, Emiliano Ponzi outlines a line that unites East and West, and tells of today's China, incredibly modern, while respecting its millenary tradition.

“The sculpture My precious pillow is for me the highlight of the whole exhibition. Before arriving at the right version, I drew many hypotheses. The concept I wanted to convey was the combination of past and present, what China represents today.

And so a young girl dressed in a bomber jacket, sneakers and shorts lies on a large rabbit, the age-old tradition of a large country.

The propulsive modernity that has deep cultural and historical roots and is based on them. Nicola Strada created the 3D based on my drawings which we have revised several times to find the right position, the most correct inclination of the figure so that it seems safe and comfortable when reclining on the big rabbit.

And then the great Chinese manufacture shaped the sculpture and painted it by hand.

I wanted it to look like a sunrise that illuminates and reveals the two figures from blue to pink. In fact, the sculpture rests on a blue carpet which helps the transition effect".