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Milan's Decisive Moments

Photographer and artist Gintare Bandinskaite shares her most eye-catching images from Milan Design Week

Gintare Bandinskaite accompanied us on our trip to Milan this spring and we’re thrilled to share some of her beautiful images in this week’s post. The city was absolutely bursting with art exhibitions of all sorts, so we asked her to pick a few of her favorite photographs and to tell us what about the installation captured her attention. “The city comes alive with a creative energy that leaves you inspired and gives you a kick to pursue your own creative endeavors,” says Gintare, who is showing her work with Visual Contrast at this week's NY Now show, August 10-14th.. “I hope everyone gets to experience Salone del Mobile at some point or another!” We couldn’t agree more. This fall, we’ll begin sharing news of our 2020 plans. It’s going to be another extraordinary trip! In the meantime, enjoy an art-filled return to Milan with Gintare’s gorgeous images.

Carlos Amorales’ Black Cloud at Fondazione Adolfo Pini

“2019 Salone del Mobile was my second time going to Milan and let me tell you, this year was such a feast for the eyes. My absolute favorite installation was Black Cloud by Carlos Amorales, one of the most celebrated Mexican artists working today. The installation took place at Fondazione Adolfo Pini, a 19th-century building and was comprised of 25,000 black paper butterflies perched on the walls, ceilings and furniture. This exhibit took over an hour to get into because only a few people were let in at a time to fully immerse in the experience. And the experience was magical. I am personally moved by art that is beautiful yet alarming, and this installation was just that. Walking into the building, I felt amazed but also this cloud of uneasiness hung over me, hence the name Black Cloud. The setting in which the installation took place really drove it home for me, as it was so unique to see it in an old, elegant building rather than a typical museum. It really encompasses what Salone del Mobile offers: a perfect integration of the city’s architecture and history with a modern interpretation of art and design.”

Marc Ange, An Extraordinary World

Another immersive experience was Marc Ange’s An Extraordinary World at Palazzo Cusani, a 17th-century palace that we unexpectedly stumbled upon. I immediately recognized Marc’s signature piece, Le Refuge, a daybed veiled by large sculptures of palm leaves, as it blew up on Instagram a couple years back. It was exciting to see the work in real life and to explore other aspects of his art and design which are truly imaginative, unique and cerebral. His furniture pieces are more of a work of art than functional objects and really evoke a sense of fantasy and wonder. Just take a look at the Spider Chair!

Gaetano Pesce, Maestà Soffrente

“Now, when the giant flesh-colored sculpture of what looked like an armchair popped up overnight in front of the Duomo, the most iconic architectural gem of Milan, I didn’t know how to react and I had to find out more about it. It was so large and resembled a woman’s curves and had arrows stuck to it. Turns out it was the iconic design of Gaetano Pesce, an Italian designer who first designed the chair in 1969. Its bulbous shape, inspired by silhouettes of ancient fertility goddesses, accompanied by an affixed ottoman resembling a ball and chain represents the suffering that women go through because of the prejudice of men. So, the erection (pun intended) of this anti-patriarchy sculpture outraged some hardcore Italian feminists who believed that once again the portrayal of women is that of a victim and an object. They organized a protest bearings signs that said ‘This is not a woman’ and one self-proclaimed Italian “artivist” threw red paint on the sculpture as ‘a kind of menstruation to bring back to reality the artist who imagines a woman only as a piece of furniture.’ Needless to say, this piece was very controversial and definitely caught my attention because what is art if not a dialogue between artists and the public?”

Louis Vuitton, Objets Nomades

“This installation was the talk of the town and we just had to go see it. It was a collaboration between Louis Vuitton and several designers with the intention of bringing a sense of travel to the collection, infused with their own distinct styles. Again, the installation took place in a gorgeous neoclassical palace and featured furniture and objects that were playful and imaginative in a dimly lit setting. The main room had an overwhelming amount of lanterns hanging from the ceiling and I was so enthralled by them that I think I totally missed the furniture and objects that were supposed to take center stage. Oops! But overall, I felt energized after seeing so many vibrant and dazzling things here.”

Pezo von Ellrichshausen, Echo Pavilion

“And last but not least, I went alone to see the Pezo von Ellrichshausen exhibit at Palazzo Litta and was greeted by a monumental mirror sculpture that stood dead center in the courtyard. Its angular symmetry drew me into a meditative, self-reflection experience. I enjoyed this piece because of its simplicity, having seen so many overwhelmingly intricate designs thus far. It was almost unnoticeable because of its mirror effect reflected back the Baroque architecture of the courtyard. It set a tone for the rest of the second-floor exhibit, which I found to be meditative as well, like the vibrant Yves Kline-blue staircase [below] that led to a small mirror set against the cream-white background. Such an unexpected contrast but it works!

All images courtesy of the artist.

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