As human beings, we are expected to make an appointment with the dystopia of the anthropocene. A meeting invoked by anthropologists, scientists, philosophers and designers. And one of the first good occasions is this FuoriSalone 2021.
The place is the Porta Romana district. It may be because this area has often been on the fringes of the commercial design circuits. It may be because here, between the Prada Foundation on the border with the suburbs and the city center, there are many places suitable to be occupied for the time of an exhibition. The fact is that if you want a space for design reflection (between design and art), you should go here and take a tour between the ICA Milano Foundation in via Orobia 26, the Ordet space in via Adige 17 and the Marsèll Paradise exhibition space in via Privata Rezia 2.
ICA Milano Foundation, via Orobia 26. Cheerfully optimistic about the future by Michael Anastassiades
Michael Anastassiades relies on the curatorship of Alberto Salvadori for the exhibition of 27 unique pieces and a glossary room, from which it seems that it all started. It is not clear whether by choice of the designer or by pure chance, we first visit the large industrial space where lamps made of bamboo, linen thread, cables and electrical circuits are exhibited. The whole is extraordinary. In the original sense of the adjective: out of the ordinary code of the Design Week.
The light, the silence, the peace of this area in the middle of urban nowhere (and it doesn't matter if the prada Foundation is a few steps away, here Milan is definitely a city still waiting for Glasnost), the lamps by Anastassiades have the aspect of a research on the material and formal essence brought to the margin of the possible. The materials are universally significant, understandable in their purity and simplicity. Everything is shown, every constructive passage denounced. The transparency of the process that we instinctively link to reuse, to the invention of waste.
The glossary room, which perhaps should be seen first, is moving. A collection ordered by Anastassiades of stones and small insignificant materials, which create a geological, primitive silence. Before it all begins, one gathers in the unreasonable and silent beauty of minerals. To understand Michael Anastassiades, going through here is a must.
Spazio Ordet, via Adige 17. Unnatural practice by Marcin Rusak
Marcin Rusak is a designer and an artist, often at the same time. Polish, young and full of talent, he creates unique pieces in which the plant element is a pragmatic and repetitive presence. In this Milanese exhibition, curated by the talented Federica Sala and entitled Unnatural practice, exploration tackles the theme of decadence. Rusak proceeds hard-nosed, "with body and mind".
At the entrance, a first installation covers the floor: a vegetal and mineral stratification stopped in an eternal process of destruction. But what is striking is the smell. It is recognizable, unpleasant and yet inevitable. He breathes deeply to understand what it is.
And then it becomes clear: it is the smell of rot, revised and corrected by Barnabé Fillion who, in this exhibition, is definitely next to Rusak. He continues in a space occupied by furniture, accessories and lamps. The dry leaves, covered with transparent, metallic or colored resins, are the skeletal and vegetal structure of each piece. On the chairs, which can be used, knitted cushions look like carpets of moss and small spontaneous vegetation. And another smell / perfume by Barnabé Fillion, this time metallic and sulphurous. In the third room a video in which the tale of rotting nature presses on.
There is all of Daniel Spoerri's work in this exhibition. The teaching of a process stopped at a moment that becomes imperishable. But Rusak's gaze is more contemporary: he sees and looks for other things, far from civilization.
Marsèll Paradise, via Privata Rezia 2. Fluid Crust Surgery by Raquel Quevedo
A multimedia installation in which common materials such as plastic and ceramic are mixed. The goal is the creation of a new material, made up of fragments and scraps, of the leftovers of civilization and industry. The process is the same as always: the addition of artificial substances, the aesthetic intervention on randomness which thus becomes a project. Raquel Quevedo works with fluids that transform the appearance of things to build a post-anthropocene formal universe.
The presentation text says that "the resulting sculptures symbolize geological structures beyond the natural". A point of view that suggests an artificial vision of the environment, subjecting the future once again to human intervention.
A not very new design solution, yet interesting for its monstrous hybridization characteristic. Anthropologists such as Matteo Meschiari argue that it is through the ability to imagine monsters that we can reopen own the future.
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Photo Cover: Michael Anastassiades, Cheerfully Optimistic About the Future, at the ICA Milan Foundation, via Orobia 26, until January 6, 2022.