Art is an expression of uniqueness, a common language for describing a country's identity. That is why artists from around the world have come to the Universal Exposition in Milan with all the works that best describe their era and their society, intent on sharing the message that life is beautiful.
Arts & Foods. Rituals since 1851
The intricate relationship between the arts and food will be retraced and analyzed in the only thematic area of Expo Milano 2015 to be held in the city, located in both the indoor and outdoor areas of the Triennale – 7,000 square meters of building and garden space. Arts & Foods. Rituals since 1851 will focus on all those visual, sculptural, object-based and environmental forms that, ever since 1851, the year of the first Expo in London, have revolved around the world of food, nutrition, and dining together. The international exhibition curated by Germano Celant uses different media to take visitors through time, from the historic to the contemporary, and through forms of expression, creativity and communication in all cultural areas. Where: the Milan Triennale, Viale Alemagna 6: free entry for Expo ticket holders.
Emilio Isgrò: The Seed of the Most High
The symbol of life and hope for the development of humanity is embodied in an orange seed that has been enlarged 1.5 billion times. The era of food manipulation is narrated in this work, which the artist—the founding father of the erasure technique and a well-known personality in the field of conceptual art—has turned into as a universal icon of nourishment. Where: West Entrance Triulza - Orogel [I5]
Dante Ferretti, The Guardians of Food - The Market (eight stations)
Dante Ferretti's installation is a bold response to the gauntlet that Expo Milano 2015 has thrown down to the participating countries. At the entrance, visitors are greeted by a parade of statues inspired by the portraits of Giuseppe Arcimboldo, which depict traditional Italian works and produce in anthropomorphic form. Italy prides itself in its agricultural production and the market is a meeting place for farmers and people. This is why traditional Italian markets and typical produce inspired the great set designer and three-time Oscar winner Dante Ferretti: his eight installations on the Decumano, made exclusively for the Universal Exposition, kicked off Italian Pride Week on June 2.
Mimmo Paladino: Knowledge
Mimmo Paladino and Michele De Lucchi forged this work in bronze that is on display until October 31 in the “Valle delle Civiltà”, the area facing Pavilion Zero. The statue, a sitting human figure is depicted in the act of learning the knowledge of the gods from a book. The statue has been placed on a pedestal designed by Michele De Lucchi and produced by Maurizio Riva, with the aim of affirming the concept of knowledge through the poetic lines, cave drawings, art and the beauty of the landscape, which is the main theme of Pavilion Zero.
CIR food: Taste of Vision
Contained within its eateries, bars and restaurants, CIR food – the Italian Catering Cooperative - houses a collection of works of art which convey the message of healthy eating and the use of sustainable products. The likes of Renata Boero, Paola Levi Montalcini, Elisa Montessori, Sara Campensan and Marilu Eustachio (with a tribute to Gillo Dorfles) are on display. Visitors can view a variety of works which blend art, poetry and the world of food.
Where: Tracce restaurants
Wolf Vostell: Energy
The installation created in 1973 by the German artist, an exponent of the neo-Dadaist art movement Fluxus, is on show in the Caritas Edicola. Based on the evangelical theme "Divide to Multiply," this work has never been seen before in Italy. The shell of a huge Cadillac filled with submachine guns is surrounded by loaves of bread wrapped in newspaper. The composition prompts people to reflect on the link between consumption and the sharing of resources. Where: Caritas Pavilion [H7]
Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano: Copy of the statue of the Madonnina
This scale 1:1 copy of the famous statue of “the little Madonna” is 4.16 meters high, weighs roughly 14 quintals and is covered with 4,750 pieces of gold leaf. The statue of the Madonnina which the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo has placed in the center of its Pavilion was constructed by the Noana Del Giudice foundry, uniting traditional metal-working skills with ultra-precision 3D scanning technology. The Pavilion of the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo, or Venerable Cathedral Works Department, offers an ideal replica of the central roof terrace of Milan’s Cathedral, culminating in the golden Madonnina, symbol of the city.
Lukas Rittstein: Nafigate
The overlap between technological development and nature is expressed metaphorically by the juxtaposition of a hummingbird transforming into a car. The sculptor is known for emblematic works, which are always made of plastic and represent the symbiosis between the city and nature. Where: Czech Republic Pavilion [G7]
Fabio Novembre: To Make a Tree/Fiat 500
These tree planters-cum-art installations in the shape of Fiat 500s have been created by designer Fabio Novembre to a scale of 1:1. Before going on display here at Expo Milano 2015, they were exhibited in 2009 on Via Montenapoleone in Milan, in collaboration with the City of Milan, Fiat, Confagricoltura, the National Chamber of Italian Fashion, the Via Montenapoleone traders' association and the Unione del Commercio. Where: Decumano
Giuliano Tomaino: Various Works
The large installations in the "Sculptures in the City" series by Ligurian sculptor Giuliano Tomaino will be displayed along the Decumano. All of the statues are painted bright red and bring the themes of play, nature, danger and illusion into the urban landscape. Where: Cir Food
Pablo Atchugarry: Life After Life
The trunk of an olive tree, which the sculptor found lying dead in a plant nursery in Parma, has been brought back to life as art. Through this work the artist, who is famous for his marble sculptures, represents his home country Uruguay, where life never ceases to grow and overcome.
Where: Uruguay Pavilion [G13]
'The Treasure of Italy,' curated by Vittorio Sgarbi
The idea behind this installation is to demonstrate how art in Italy is strongly characterized by the original biodiversity of the country's regions. This unusual viewpoint, which focuses on the artists' territorial origins, formed the basis for selecting 350 artworks that encompass painting and sculpture from the 14th century to the present day. Visitors are therefore treated to an eclectic mix of paintings, tapestries, sculptures and crochet animals alongside the "Leopard" by Antonio Ligabue, "San Bartolomeo" by Nicola di Maestro Antonio, the "Bull of Forgiveness of 1294" by Pope Celestine V, the "Cactus Flower "by Riccardo Francalancia, and even a Perugino. Where: Eataly Space [H15]
Luigi Serafini: Carrot Woman
Controversial for its explicit depiction of a naked woman, the human features of this sculpture progressively transform into a carrot in a modern reinterpretation of the myth of Persephone, daughter of Demeter and Zeus. The artist tends to celebrate the bizarre and the allegory of shape-shifting in all of his creations, which include the contemporary bestiary entitled the Codex Seraphinianus. Where: Sculpture Park, Eataly Pavilion [H15]
Gaetano Pesce: Endless Unique
The artist proposes two huge thrones made from a single bead of polychrome silicone that seems to have no beginning or end, giving them an uncertain shape and a sense of inconsistency. Through this work the artist reflects on the importance of everyday objects. Where: Sculpture Park, Eataly Pavilion [H15]
The Machine of Santa Rosa
This is the only Italian monument that has been transported and rebuilt in the spaces of the Universal Exposition. It symbolizes the procession that has been held in Viterbo every year since the Middle Ages. Once made of wood, iron and papier-mâché, it is now made from light metals and modern materials such as fiberglass. At the turn of the 20th century it was turned into a helical structure standing almost 30 meters high, topped by a statue of Santa Rosa and weighing 5000 kg. Where: Sculpture Park, Eataly Pavilion [H15]
Francesco Messina: Four Horses
The artist is strongly associated with the city of Milan, where his studio-museum is located. These four horses were designed for a chariot sculpture twice their size that was intended to go on display at Expo Rome 1942, but the event never took place because of the war. Giovanni Leone took the plaster models that had been made in 1941 in Messina and cast them in bronze at his own expense, before exhibiting them at Formello from 1970. Where: Decumano, in front of Eataly [H15]
Umberto Boccioni: Workshops at Porta Romana
This 1910 work represents a booming city in the heart of the industrial society, where urban life changes and becomes more hectic, accelerated by progress. The artist, a member of the Futurist movement, absorbs the divisionist technique to celebrate the suburban landscape of the industrial metropolis, illuminated by a crystal light that brings out the shadows of the workers and the houses under construction. Where: Waterstone/Intesanpaolo [G17]
Igor Mitoraj: Grande Toscano
The artist commemorates ancient statuary while at the same time denying its identity and removing its face. The symbolic fusion between man and woman is represented by positioning a female head in the sculpture's heart. The classic iconography inspires the proportions and the harmony of the forms but is disturbed by the metaphysical cut of the work. Where: Poland Pavilion [G18]
Antoni Miralda: El Viaje del Sabor
One of the greatest exponents of edible art and food culture, Antoni Miralda, embodies his reflection on food through a series of suitcases. His creation, which translates into English as "Traveling Flavors," is intended to highlight the journey that food makes around the world. The evocative poetry that has always been the artist's hallmark becomes a subtle message that encourages us to get informed and find out about the food we are eating. Where: Spain Pavilion [H18]
Peter Paul Rubens: The Insitution of the Eucharist
The work on display at the Holy See Pavilion is a tapestry based on the Last Supper painted by the Flemish painter between 1631 and 1632 when, during the Counter Reformantion, he returns to confront the sacred themes. The Instituion of the Eucharist (1632 - 1650), from the Diocesan Museum of Ancona, is the last supper eaten by Jesus and his Apostles, including Judas who stands in a distracted pose
Tintoretto: The Last Supper
Jacopo Robusti, known as Tintoretto, was the last great exponent of the Venetian school of the Italian Renaissance. The first traces of the Baroque style are revealed in the domestic setting with servants and commoners in the foreground, the dramatic perspective, the three-dimensional use of light and the strong, almost theatrical chiaroscuro effect. This magnificent work dates from 1592–1594. Where: Holy See Pavilion (until the end of July) [G18]
Patrick Laroche: Artichokes
In contrast to the classic style of his early works, which was inspired by Rodin and Carpeaux, Laroche wanted to combine his passion for gastronomy with sculpture to create the "Vegetables" collection, of which this work is one part. All the sculptures are enlarged reproductions of vegetables, made from bronze or polyresin and covered with a chrome varnish. Where: France Pavilion [G18]
Guido Scarabottolo: Giant Fisherman
One of the most successful Italian graphic designers and illustrators has created a statue representing the silhouette of a fisherman. Located in the Islands, Sea and Food Cluster, the forged iron work is of a man with a fish head, signifying that for many countries fishing remains the main source of livelihood.
Daniel Lezama: Tree Of Life
An entire wall of the Mexico Pavilion is occupied by this work, which represents the Aztec myth of life after death. The artist, an exponent of the naturalist movement, has provided his personal interpretation of the myth that children who had departed the earthly life would be accepted into a lush garden dominated by a tree, which would have fed them with milk flowing from its branches. Where: Mexico Pavilion [H19]
Daniel Libeskind: The Wings
Intertwined aluminum helixes peppered with LEDs and audio devices come to life as the four wings of a bird in flight, whose shapes inspire the spectator's mind to take flight. In this multisensory installation, the superstar artist utilizes geometry to communicate the cultural concept of smart cities through pulsating forms that symbolize the digital factory. Where: Piazza Italia [G-H20]
Renato Guttuso: Vucciria
Palermo's "Vucciria" market (painted in 1974) communicates the soul of the city with its gritty realism, full-blooded colors and the slow dynamism of the shoppers between the stalls. The artist, the founding father of "social" art, glorifies the blunt expressiveness of the meat hanging in the foreground and the typical Sicilian produce, portraying a strong and decisive image of Palermo. Where: Palazzo Italia [E19]
Vanessa Beecroft: Jennifer Statuary
The artist, known for her living art performances, once again uses the expressive capacity of the female body in this work, which depicts a cast of her sister's body between four blocks of marble. The woman's fragmented body represents the loss of individuality. Where: Palazzo Italia [E19]
Giacomo Balla: Futurist Genius
This tapestry represents the innovative drive championed by the Futurist movement, whose pictorial theories were strongly guided by Balla. The art is not representation but concrete action, manifesting itself in an idea of modernity that is revealed in the schematic forms of the human figure. The tapestry, created in 1925, is an interpretation of universal relationships through intellect and using pure forms and colors. Where: Palazzo Italia [E19]
The first-century marble statue from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence depicts one of the Horae, the daughters of Zeus and Themis. These deities were associated with the fertility of the land and were thought to influence seasonality and the abundance of harvests. Identified with Carpo, the protector of the first fruits of autumn, the female figure is wrapped in drapery that enhances her gestures and movement. Where: Palazzo Italia [E19]
This eastern work, dating from the fourth century BC, is a polychrome marble table support depicting two griffins devouring a deer. The work was stolen and later found in the 1970s; it is now preserved in Ascoli Satriano. Where: Palazzo Italia [E19]
Giuseppe Arcimboldo: Gardener/Vegetables In A Bowl
Inspired by the caricatures of Leonardo da Vinci, in the latter half of the sixteenth century the artist produced a series of portraits by combining elements of nature. This is one of the artist's rare reversible works in which he subtly conceals sexual references and allegories of fertility. Where: Palazzo Italia [E19]
Roman Mosaic: 'La Nymphe Cyrène'
The Algeria stand is entirely covered with perforated panels according to the traditional Algerian mashrabiya design, with niches containing images and relics that include the precious Roman mosaic 'La Nymphe Cyrène,' dated to between the late second and early third centuries. Where: Algeria Pavilion in the Bio-Mediterranean Cluster [D21]
'Art in a bottle', Coca-Cola Archives in Atlanta
This exhibition of 8,500 of contemporary artworks housed in the Archives Coca-Cola in Atlanta is dedicated to the contour bottle, designed in 1915 by Earl R. Dean. Daniele Basso: Coke It’s Me; Jakub Nepras: Zoo Praha; Howard Finster: Coca-Cola Bottle/Mr. Coke Is Tops; Alberto Murillo: Always Coca-Cola; Pakpoom Silaphan: Ai Weiwei On Coca–Cola; Debra Franses Bean: Handbag; Todd Ford: Coca-Cola Bottle; Luigi Bona: Italian Flag. Where: Coca-Cola Pavilion [E22]
Andy Warhol: Velvet Underground Album
The most influential figure of the Pop Art movement, Warhol was able to turn the simplest everyday gestures into icons and mythologize banality. In 1967 Warhol created this sequence for the cover of an album by the American rock band. Like many of his other designs, this work is a reinterpretation of the language of consumer society, which abandons intellectualism to focus on the anonymity of objects. Where: Coca-Cola Pavilion [E22]
Philippe Pastor: The Burned Trees
The artist expresses his vision of society through the unrecognizable image of trees scorched during a fire in the south of France. The emblematic artwork with ecological undertones restores the trees to life and denounces the violence of humankind over nature, depicting a sick society that is destroying itself. The calcinated, black trunks represent awareness of environmental problems. Where: Monaco Pavilion [G24]
Igor Mitoraj: Grimaces of an Artist
This work includes all the figurative artistic research of the Polish sculptor, who expresses classicism through male physicality, symbolizing the damage done to ancient works by making only parts of the human body. Where: Slovakia Pavilion [G24]
Expo Milano 2015 is brimming with gems preserved in the spectacular vaults that are the country pavilions. On display there are antiques, objects of worship, and exquisite craftwork: from the Mexico Pavilion, where ancient pre-Columbian tools are juxtaposed with modern works, to the Bahrain Pavilion, which showcases ancient and precious coins. It is impossible to list all of these treasures –the only way to see them is to come to Expo Milano 2015.