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News in brief to re­count an Italy on the move be­tween econ­omy, life­style and cul­ture

All About Italy (USA) - - Alle Farben Des Weins | All About Italy - Ilona Catani Scar­lett


This is the ti­tle of the first ma­jor ret­ro­spec­tive in the United States of the Ital­ian painter, sculp­tor, and in­stal­la­tion artist Marisa Merz - born in Turin in 1926 -, a pro­tag­o­nist of the Arte Povera move­ment. This avant-garde move­ment came for­ward in the 1960s em­brac­ing “poor” ma­te­ri­als — tree branches, used clothes, dirt, ropes, rocks, in­dus­trial de­tri­tus — to re­ject Italy’s post­war ma­te­rial wealth and the steril­ity of con­sumer cul­ture, to negate the ex­ist­ing codes and art world lim­i­ta­tions and to re­spond to Amer­i­can Pop and min­i­mal­ism. Her early work be­gun as an elab­o­ra­tion of her do­mes­tic­ity, with soft yet sharp-edged tan­gles of me­tal sheets that first hung from the ceil­ing of her kitchen in the mid-1960s, and the group of del­i­cate but pow­er­ful ob­jects made from nontra­di­tional ma­te­ri­als such as cop­per wire and knit­ting nee­dles. In the mid-1970s, Merz be­gan sculpt­ing a se­ries of small heads – Teste -, which have be­come em­blem­atic of the artist and her more re­cent work. To­day, Merz is still at work, in her home town of Turin, at ninety-one. The ex­hi­bi­tion - cu­rated by Con­nie But­ler, Chief Cu­ra­tor from Ham­mer Mu­seum, and Ian Al­teveer, Cu­ra­tor from the De­part­ment of Mod­ern and Con­tem­po­rary Art at The Metropoli­tan Mu­seum of Art – on show at the Met Breur, in New York, un­til May, 24th, show­cases five decades of Merz’s work to ex­plore her tal­ent and in­flu­ence. It fea­tures her early ex­per­i­ments with nontra­di­tional art ma­te­ri­als and pro­cesses, her mid-ca­reer in­stal­la­tions that bal­ance in­ti­macy with im­pres­sive scale, and the portrait heads she cre­ated af­ter the mid-1970s.


Pizza, pasta with tomato sauce and cappuccino widely rep­re­sents Italy abroad, but what about the one that Ital­ians con­sider the most iconic street food? In the six­ties and seven­ties the panino (stuffed bread-roll) was a sym­bol of free­dom to be en­joyed on the go and also a speedy sym­bol of re­bel­lion to tra­di­tional rhythms. To­day it is a tasty and healthy op­tion for a quick lunch break in front of the PC, or while go­ing from one ap­point­ment to an­other. As Anna Pran­doni, di­rec­tor of Panino Ital­iano mag­a­zine, says “food to be suc­cess­ful must have five char­ac­ter­is­tics: it must be healthy, tasty, pleas­ing to the eye, cheap and easy to con­sume” and the Panino has them all.

These are the grounds on which the cul­tural foun­da­tion Ac­cademia del Panino (stuffed bread­roll acad­emy) is work­ing to pro­mote the panino as one of the icons of the Made in Italy. The acad­emy has been con­ceived by Elena Riva and An­to­nio Civita - en­trepreneurs be­hind the brand Panino Giusto -, who in­volved as con­sul­tants the panino ex­pert Alessan­dro Fras­sica, the baker and wheat scholar Da­vide Lon­goni, the starred chef Clau­dio Sadler and the “gas­tro­naut” Da­vide Paolini. Based in Mi­lan, the Ac­cademia del Panino is an in­te­grated project which pro­vides a pro­fes­sional cook­ing school - with cour­ses for en­thu­si­asts and in­sid­ers who will be­come Panino Mas­ter, Panino Gourmet and Panino Artist -, a the­matic li­brary with about 1,500 ti­tles, and the pa­per mag­a­zine “Panino Ital­iano”. The acad­emy has also de­vised a beau­ti­ful ex­hi­bi­tion and an app to ge­olo­cate the best panino searching by lo­ca­tion and by in­gre­di­ents.


Ac­cord­ing to jour­nal­ist Kate Springer, from CNN “Zaha Ha­did Ar­chi­tects’ Napoli-afragola High Speed Train Sta­tion is set to re­de­fine rail travel, at least stylis­ti­cally, with its sculp­tural white fa­cade that re­sem­bles a snake”.

The in­au­gu­ra­tion is sched­uled for June, while for the com­ple­tion of all the ser­vices we will have to wait un­til the end 2018. Naples Afragola sta­tion has been de­signed by An­glo-iraqi ar­chi­tect Zaha Ha­did, who re­cently passed away, and, thanks to its ar­chi­tec­ture and in­no­va­tion, is con­sid­ered among the most beau­ti­ful works of 2017.

The new sta­tion will be a bridge over the tracks, in this way the wide pas­sage needed to con­nect the var­i­ous plat­forms is trans­formed into the main pas­sen­ger tun­nel, noth­ing less than 350 me­ters long. The main hall is de­signed as a large bright atrium with a 5000 square me­ters stained-glass win­dow that al­lows the con­trolled dif­fu­sion of direct sun­light. Here pas­sen­gers will be able to en­joy wait­ing for their high speed train to Rome.


It’s now pos­si­ble to visit Nero’s Domus Aurea and ap­pre­ci­ate it as he did in the first cen­tury, with its porch, the rich rooms, the gar­den and the view of the Pala­tine. A 3D video played on a big screen (19m x 3.3m) al­lows vis­i­tors to go be­yond the visit of the mon­u­ment as it is to­day and en­joy it with a much fuller ex­pe­ri­ence. It will il­lus­trate the his­tory of the mon­u­ment, from Nero’s build­ing to the changes wanted by Tra­jan and, up to more re­cent times when, dur­ing WWII, the tun­nels have been used as a shel­ter for the dis­placed. Af­ter the screen­ing, vis­i­tors, led by guides, will tour the con­struc­tion site of the con­ser­va­tion works and reach the in­no­va­tive tech­no­log­i­cal in­stal­la­tion set up in the gilded dome room. Here each vis­i­tor will be able to in­de­pen­dently use vir­tual re­al­ity stereo­scopic view­ers to take a leap in time, mov­ing 360° in a room cov­ered with col­ored mar­ble and fres­coes, flooded with nat­u­ral light com­ing from a gar­den over­look­ing Rome. The pomp and the wealth of Nero’s palace will be ev­i­dent and sur­pris­ing. These tech­nolo­gies ap­plied to such an im­por­tant ar­chae­o­log­i­cal site gen­er­ates a real jour­ney through time, a cog­ni­tive and emo­tional short cir­cuit. Su­per­in­ten­dent of the Colos­seum and the cen­tral ar­chae­o­log­i­cal area of Rome, Francesco Pros­peretti com­mented: “It is a new fea­ture that I re­ally wanted, be­cause the cur­rent sta­tus of the mon­u­ment does not give the op­por­tu­nity to grasp the essence of this place. Now it is pos­si­ble”.

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