Triennale Milano pays tribute to the photographer Giovanni Gastel through two exhibitions. At the center are the famous portraits and jewels in a sophisticated dialogue with the body

The spirituality of the soul emerges from photographs by Giovanni Gastel. That emanating from the intense faces of the famous portraits, which he consecrated to an artistic work, but also that emanating from clothes, objects, fabrics and jewels intertwined with the bodies in a sort of sophisticated, sculptural but dynamic metamorphosis, with a subtle and elegant ironic vein.

Triennale Milano pays tribute to the photographer who passed away this year through two exhibitions, set up from 1 December 2021 to 13 March 2022, The People I Like and The jewels of the imagination that tell different aspects of his creative work.

Read also: the photo novel of design

The People I Like: a collective portrait of anime

The The People I Like exhibition - in collaboration with the MAXXI National Museum of Arts of the 21st century, curated by Uberto Frigerio and with the installation of Lissoni Associati - presents over 200 portraits which are the testimony of the immense variety of encounters that characterized Gastel's long career.

A labyrinth of faces, poses, dreams of characters from the world of culture, design, art, fashion, music, entertainment, politics. A kaleidoscope of photographs, a collective portrait of souls met during a forty-year career.

The person behind the character

With Gastel, the representation of the face triggers a human and psychological investigation that reveals the person behind the character, consecrating the portrait as an artistic work.

Without a precise order or belonging to a specific sector or category, all portraits are exhibited in large format, most of them in black and white, while in the final part of the 80 images of the sophisticated series of black hills that seem to emanate the spirituality of the soul are exhibited.

The jewels of the imagination: the syncretic dialogue between objects and the body

In parallel, the exhibition The jewels of fantasy, created in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Photography, presents as a precious setting, to use a term derived from goldsmithing, one of the first works that gave Giovanni Gastel international fame.

There are 20 images of a larger project commissioned to the author by Daniel Swarovski Corporation in 1991 for the book of the same name, translated into four languages, and the exhibition of 20th century jewels, both curated by Deanna Farneti Cera.

Body and mask, disguise and metamorphosis

With this exhibition, which from the Teatro alla Scala Museum circulated for six years in some of the most important European museums of applied art, Giovanni Gastel has given life to a fantastic reinterpretation and imaginary of jewels from which all her extraordinary creative vein emerged.

Here we find the stylistic elegance and the central themes of his artistic research: the syncretic dialogue between objects and the body, the mask, the disguise and the metamorphosis seasoned with a cultured irony.

A sophisticated portraitist of the world

“Giovanni Gastel was a sophisticated portraitist of the world” says Stefano Boeri , president of Triennale Milano. “Not just faces, but bodies, fashions, jewels, fabrics, environments. With a smile, he made the infallible and precise gesture of a great photographer seem easy. His work has been intertwined over and over again with the paths of the Triennale, to which he had given ideas, projects and inspirations. With these two exhibitions, our institution pays the first due homage to this generous and light-hearted genius that Milan and art have lost too soon”.