Milan, Florence, Bologna, Rome and Bergamo are the cities that host artists, architects, writers, designers and curators who stage worlds to discover

We begin with Hidetoshi Nagasawa, a Japanese and Milanese artist by choice, who tried throughout his life to represent the meeting between East and West in a single work, pursuing the - highly poetic - path of lightness and emptiness (which for him is generative, however).

Three places in Milan tell the story, which also hosts Theodoulos  Polyviou (at the Elpis Foundation), an interesting artist for his investigation into architecture as an instrument of identity in the A palace in exile project.

Graphics is at the center of the investigation on Italian writers in a 40-year work for the exhibition Frontiera 40 Italian Style Writing 1984 - 2024 (at the MAMbo in Bologna), while Rifrzioni is a collective of 15 artists and 15 curators which aims to tell the different facets of the contemporary artistic and curatorial scene (in Rome).

Finally, Anselm Kiefer's angels await us in Florence in a profound reflection on human nature. To close this small selection of unmissable exhibitions, a market: it is the first dedicated exclusively to modern antiques (Bergamo). Good vision.

Hidetoshi Nagasawa, 1969-20018, Building, Moshe Tabibnia Gallery, Artists' House, Milan, until 20 July

It is said of Hidetoshi Nagasawa that he chose Milan as his city of choice because his bicycle was stolen. Not just any one: the one with which he had cycled from Japan to Italy and probably for this reason, that theft seemed to him to be an unmistakable sign of the fact that he had to stop right in the Lombard capital.

It was August 1967, a year and a few months after his departure from home (May 1966): the destination was Europe, which he reached via Thailand, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan , Persia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey. There the journey seemed to be over, he had reached the gates of Europe. But then by chance he hears Mozart broadcast on the radio and is captivated: he must continue. So he arrives in Milan, where he soon meets Castellani, Nigro, Fabro and Trotta.

And then, he exhibited his works in Italy and around the world, until 2018, when he passed away. Now a retrospective curated by Giorgio Verzotti </ strong> recounts his work in around 40 works hosted in three locations </ strong> in Milan.

The Moshe Tabibnia Gallery until May 25, 2024, hosts Barca (1983-1985), made up of a thin brass tube covered with Japanese paper which, depending on the exhibition location, can be placed on the wall, on the ceiling or placed on the floor.

Lightness and spirituality tell the story of this object, placed here in dialogue with a splendid collection of 16th century Ushak prayer rugs.House of Artists, founded by Nagasawa with Nigro and de Sanna, dedicates an in-depth study to it opening his studio (1978-2007) with a choice of works that tell the design aspect of his work (8 May - 4 June).

The Galleria Building (until 20 July), then, opens with a series of works documenting Nagasawa's entire artistic experience, from performances to large-scale sculptures.

The underlying theme of the exhibition is the Zen concept of Ma, something similar to a generative void of energy and form, which meets Western culture in a dialogue as long as Nagasawa's life himself. From plants rooted in marble boats, to imprints left on this material which suddenly reveals itself to the public as soft and malleable, up to a pyramid to imagine, yet truly cumbersome in the gallery space (where there is only the apex... ), and works on paper.

Who will like it: those who love conceptual art, those who study Japanese philosophy, poetry enthusiasts. Because Nagasawa's artistic result is highly poetic.
Useful information: Galleria Building, via Monte di Pietà 23, Milan, open from Tuesday to Saturday 10am-7pm; Galleria Moshe Tabibnia, via Brera 3, Milan, open from Tuesday to Saturday 10am-7pm; Artists' House, Corso Garibaldi 89/A, Milan, open from Tuesday to Sunday 12.30pm - 7pm.

Theodoulos Polyviou, A palace in exile, Elpis Foundation, Milan, until July 7

The story around the Archbishop's Palace in Cyprus tells of social and identity tensions. We are in Cyprus in the 50s of the last century when Archbishop Makarios III proposes the construction of a new archbishop's palace and to do so he announces the first public architecture competition on the island .

An opportunity that had the merit of revealing how architecture played an important role in national identity during British domination.

Polyviou works on this element, between archetypal forms that founded the national community and at the same time excluded minorities, between communication and advertising of the time and the ultra-contemporary insert of virtual reality. The palace in exile spreads throughout all the spaces of the foundation to speak of itself through the different historical eras.

Who will like it: lovers of history and the history of architecture.
Useful information: Elpis Foundation, via Lamarmora 26, Milan, open from Thursday to Sunday from 12pm to 7pm.

Frontiera 40 Italian Style Writing 1984 - 2024, MAMbo - Museum of Modern Art of Bologna, from 13 April to 13 July

What are we talking about when we talk about writing? What if we do it in Italy? Fabiola Naldi, curator of this exhibition, tries to answer the question after a long search for the intellectual path of Francesca Alinovi.

A militant and scholar of the most experimental creative phenomena that emerged in the 70s and 80s, she had created an exhibition entitled Frontier Art. New York Graffiti which contaminated the official art system with the urban reality of writing.

Today, 40 years after that exhibition, Naldi brings together 178 authors who from that experience open up new expressive possibilities in the direction of environmental painting. The preparatory sketches speak, precious material for understanding the evolution of the writers, their graphic sign and their artistic gesture.

Who will like it: an exhibition for fans of graffiti but also of graphic design.
Useful information: MAMbo, via don Minzoni 14, Bologna, open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 2pm to 7pm; on Thursdays until 8pm; from Friday to Sunday from 10am to 7pm.

Refractions. 15 curators x 15 artists, National Academy of San Luca, Rome, until June 28

The idea of Marco Tirelli, created with the coordination of Massimo Mininni and Barbara Reggio, it is clear from the title: entrust each curator with an artist and draw a small mapping of the contemporary art scene.

Nothing exhaustive, of course, but a work capable of offering a diversified and multifaceted cross-section of the artistic present. Which is twofold, because it investigates the curatorial and artistic eye at the same time.

For 15 times, in addition to a calendar of performances entitled Archetipi and edited by Bartolomeo Pietromarchi who chose this word, as he himself explains, because «Archetypes are fundamentally characterized by the fact that they combine a symbol with an emotion».

And perhaps this idea acts as a common thread throughout the entire exhibition, a story between past and present in the very places of the Academy. Many names, including Cecilia Canziani who presents Chiara Camoni, Lara Conte who presents Paolo Icaro, Cristiana Perrella who presents Jacopo Benassi…

Who will like it: those who love to scrutinize the curators' point of view and those who are curious to discover new perspectives.
Useful information: Accademia Nazionale di San Luca, piazza dell'Accademia di San Luca 77, Rome, open from Tuesday to Friday 3pm - 8pm; on Saturdays from 10am to 2pm.

Anselm Kiefer. Fallen Angels, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, until 21 July

The fallen angels are those expelled from Paradise following their rebellion against God. Symbol of the whole of humanity, they become a starting point for a reflection on poetry, philosophical thought, art, history and identity on the part of the German artist. Who at Palazzo Strozzi carries out a meticulous introspective analysis of the human being, as if the particular were also the universal.

Indeed, here it is in all its expressive power: Kiefer's works, his angels fallen from heaven, are all of us, I am the human being. And Kiefer, with his artistic approach, talks about men in the form of painting, sculpture, installation and photography, composing the exhibition itinerary. Which also wants to be a reflection on the past, the present and the future.

Who will like it: Anselm Kiefer lovers
Useful information: Palazzo Strozzi, Piazza Strozzi, Florence, open every day from 10am to 8pm; on Thursdays until 11pm.

SOMO - Solo Modernariato, Spazio Phase, Alzano Lombardo, Bergamo, 11 and 12 May

Somo, as the title suggests, is a fair dedicated exclusively to modern antiques, an exhibition-market of super-selected objects and - above all - saved from traditional flea or antique markets, where everything is inevitably mixed together a pot pourri of eras and styles.

Here we are only talking to the thumbs, those who do not even deign to glance at things produced before 1945 or after 1980. There is everything, as long as it strictly belongs to the years (few to be honest) of modern antiques, from furnishing accessories to artistic objects, up to those of everyday use where design has been able to experiment and evolve to the point of becoming iconic (at least in some pieces that have made history).

Bringing their jewels to the exhibition are sector specialists such asFliki, TORTONA4arte, Spazio 900 Milano, Di Mano in Mano, The House of Vintage, Moioli Galleryfor a total of around 50 exhibitors.

Ah, and then there is the Spazio Fase, an interesting place in itself: it was the Pigna Paper Mill, now transformed into a place for cultural events.

Who will like it: the curious, gallery owners, collectors, design enthusiasts...
Useful information: Spazio Phase, via Daniele Pesenti 1, Alzano Lombardo (BG), open on Saturday 11 May from 10am to 10pm and Sunday 12 May from 10am to 7pm.