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Whispers on the Wind: 70 Voices of Contemporary Italian Art

Milan Art Week exploded with ITALIA 70, a massive public art project showcasing 70 Italian artists across the entire city. The Nicola Trussardi Foundation, a champion of artistic expression, unveiled ITALIA 70. Curated by Massimiliano Gioni, this was a different display. Imagine 70 contemporary artists, each a maestro in their own right, weaving their visions into a tapestry that adorned the very streets of Milan.

Twenty years ago, a similar spark ignited. I NUOVI MOSTRI, a pioneering project by the Foundation, scattered posters by young Italian artists, their voices echoing through the city’s veins. Now, that spirit returned, amplified. Seventy voices, a chorus of established masters and rising stars, ready to repaint Milan. The Foundation invited each artist to contribute an unpublished image, a secret whispered for the city to hear. These whispers transformed into hundreds of posters, a vibrant sea that flooded the streets and squares. A treasure hunt unfolded from the Monumental Cemetery’s serenity to the Historic Centre’s bustling heart, from the modern marvel of City Life to the echoes of Porta Romana. Milan, a canvas waiting to be unveiled.

Each poster is a piece of the puzzle, guiding curious eyes on a journey of discovery. It was a metropolitan museum reborn, its walls the very fabric of the city, its exhibits hidden amongst everyday life. Imagine strolling down a sun-drenched street, a familiar corner transformed by a burst of colour. A child points, eyes wide with wonder, at a fantastical creature peeking from a shop window. A couple lingers, their conversation punctuated by a thought-provoking image. This was ITALIA 70, a symphony of art for all, reflecting the desires and anxieties courting Italy’s veins today. Once a stage for commerce and daily life, the city became a stage for dreams. ITALIA 70 is a fleeting masterpiece, a testament to the power of art to transform the ordinary into extraordinary.

Shafei Xia

BABY, LET’S GO TO THE BEACH by Shafei Xia- Milan Art Week

Born in 1989 amidst the whispers of ancient China, Shafei Xia now paints her realities in vibrant hues from her studio in Bologna, Italy. Her art delves into the raw undercurrents of our modern existence, where vulnerability and trepidation dance with hidden desires. The tiger, a symbol of untamed power and an active force in Chinese alchemy, prowls through her art. Yet, with each iteration, this magnificent creature sheds fierceness, morphing into a playful companion. This may signify a subtle shift in the tides of power, hinting at a world where strength finds a new expression.

Francesco Vezzoli

SUPER FILLER VENUS by Francesco Vezzoli-Milan Art Week

Hailing from Brescia, Italy, Francesco Vezzoli (born 1971) is a powerhouse in the contemporary art world. His work isn’t just art; it’s a captivating commentary on our times. Imagine a tapestry woven with video installations, intricate embroidery, thought-provoking photographs, and live performances. He’s not afraid to experiment; recently, he’s even been delving into classical sculpture! Vezzoli’s artistic genius has been recognized on the global stage. His work has been selected four times for the prestigious Venice Biennale, and he’s also been featured in other major exhibitions worldwide, like the Whitney Biennial and the Biennale in Sao Paulo.

Alessandro Sciarroni

Photographic print on FineArt paper created for the exhibition 41 at Centrale Fies by Alessandro Sciarroni-Milan Art Week

Alessandro Sciarroni, an Italian artist deeply entrenched in Performing Arts, boasts an extensive background in visual arts and theatre exploration. His portfolio graces contemporary dance and theatre festivals, museums, and art galleries while transcending conventional settings to inhabit unconventional spaces. In 2019, Sciarroni received the prestigious Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in Dance at the Venice Biennial, a testament to his profound impact on the field.

Paola Pivi

Leopard , 2007-2023 by Paola Pivi /
From the performance One Cup of Cappuccino then I Go, Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland, 2007/Courtesy of the artist and Massimo De Carlo. Photo by Hugo Glendinning

Italian artist Paola Pivi (born 1971) creates surprising and thought-provoking art using all sorts of things, from aeroplanes to polar bears and even pearls. She twists familiar objects, making you see them in a new way.

Giuseppe Penone

Unfolding one’s skin, 1970
Latex skin imprint of one half of the face placed on the other half by Giuseppe Penone- Milan Art Week

Giuseppe Penone was born in Garessio, Italy, in 1947. He creates art in Turin and Paris. Penone’s art shows how everything in the world is connected. He uses natural materials like wood, metal, and wax and focuses on how they look, feel, and smell.

Giulio Paolini

Delfo , 1965 by Giulio Paolini
Photograph on emulsified canvas/Milan Art Week

Giulio Paolini was born in 1940 in Genoa, Italy. He currently lives and works in Turin. In the mid-1960s, he became associated with the Arte Povera movement. Comprising an almost unchanging variation of materials (photographs, plaster casts, drawing paper, Plexiglas, and objects), his work forms a dialogue with Time and History.

Petrit Halilaj

The history of a hug, 2020 by Petrit Halilaj /
Steel, fabric, feathers, leather, original Kosovo wood, silicone, paint, synthetic fibres/ Milan Art Week

Petrit Halilaj, born in 1986 in Kostërrc, Kosovo, understands exhibitions as a way to alter the course of personal and collective histories, creating complex worlds that claim space for freedom, desire, intimacy, and identity. His work is deeply connected to the recent history of his native country, Kosovo and the consequences of cultural and political tensions in the region, which he often takes as a starting point for igniting countercurrent poetics for the future.

Patrizio di Massimo

Self-portrait with tears, 2024 by Patrizio di Massimo / Oil on linen / Milan Art Week

Born in Jesi, Italy, in 1983, Patrizio di Massimo lives and works in London, where he graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art. Di Massimo is one of today’s most respected figurative painters in the contemporary art scene. His paintings are mysterious and portray mostly human beings in situations of violence, intimacy and abundance. The artistic practice of di Massimo is filled with references to art history, popular culture and found imagery.

Marina Apollonio

Circular Dynamics 5DD 1965-2024 by Marina Apollonio /Milan Art Week

Marina Apollonio was born in Trieste, Italy, on November 12, 1940. From 1975 onward, Marina Apollonio’s work was based on the orthogonal interaction of vertical and horizontal coloured lines on a black background. These pieces were shown in 1979, along with others, in a solo exhibition at the Galleria Arte Struktura in Milan. The artist worked extensively in Italy and abroad until the 1980s when she decided to devote herself entirely to study and research. Apollonio currently lives in Padua.

Giulia Andreani Giulia

Anita, 2019 /Acrylic on canvas by Giulia Andreani / Milan Art Week

Andreani is an Italian painter born in Venice in 1985 and now living in Paris. Her work is based on extensive research of archival images and personal photographs, which inspire her paintings. Andreani is particularly interested in significant historical periods of the twentieth century, with the cases of Mussolini-era Italy and the Cold War in point. Her portraits, which feature predominantly feminine subjects, tend to be rendered in Payne’s Grey.

Celestial Chronicles: Delving into Milano Art Week 2024


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