Craftsmanship fashion or need? (page 14) Everyone is speaking of Craftsmanship and Applied Arts: it must be because the interest I have in this cultural and production field makes me more sensitive and attentive than others; however, I actually find there is a growing attention towards the Applied Arts on behalf of people and structures that until yesterday ignored if not looked down on this artistic field. In addition, the “hand-made” product is no longer the prerogative of work using archaic techniques and traditional materials, but is also reclaimed by the most advanced design artists and currents, and some also call it “metropolitan handicraft”.. Is it real interest or a passing fad? The hand-made object contains in it a nucleus of universality that can help the different peoples understand each other. It is an alternative to the globalisation that is now increasingly worrying (and in many cases frightening) greater and greater numbers of people. Thus, we hope that all “hand-made” products represent the right and conscious need that society expresses towards objects that may be defined as “fancy”, objects that are halfway between art and design. The Lyrical Archaeology of Enzo Fasano (page 16) An artist who has given a new language and splendour to an ancient discipline revisits the tarsia Enzo Fasano is the only real tarsia artist today, combining his artistic inspiration and his Salento soul, displaying two faces of the narrative textures his works are permeated with, whose slender leading thread is precisely the ‘Salentoness’ that is proudly revived and defended today. The fortunate expression of “inlaid spectacle” is back today thanks to him. Being an artist, Enzo Fasano could not stop at tarsia in the meaning of simple handicraft execution; he had to discover an actual language that went beyond the narrowness of the tradition which was still dwelling on the 14th and 15th centuries, with a few touches of the centuries after those. Therefore, the technique did not have to be accepted as an end in itself but it had to be transformed into a medium to revisit the whole of modern art. This is the greatest merit of Fasano’s research; he reasoned on the entire issue in a global sense, and has often remained bound to the more successful forms of 19th-century Southern Italy. But he has also broken away by taking up new figu-
res, styles similar to those of Baj, giving rise to ironic results such as those present in collage pictures. We must add that these works have all the connotations of paintings: the layout, spatial research, colour, lights, etc. Indeed, they are the equivalents of the graphic research Fasano is carrying out in parallel, and stand out for their artistic thoroughness. Sign Object (page 22) The identification and creation of new signs on the territory: the result of the lessons taken at the Course on Design method of Lecce’s Fine Arts Academy Research on the methods to recognise and interpret the historical or historicized landscape is one of the crucial issues that fuels the debate on problems related with the territory and, in particular, with its conservation and cultural enhancement. Loss of dependence on the specific features of an environment, as well as the current physiognomy of the landscape, lead to the concept of “place identity” with the aim of defining suitable strategies to be adopted. The elements that make up a landscape are the theme from which to start out to develop observations regarding the complex interpretation of the specific features of a place. The curriculum presented by Ada Ghinato for the Course on Design method starts out from these observations and formalizes its research though a specific design approach. The sites in which art projects are to be installed are identified and an abacus of theme-works built. The aim is a synthetic reading of the identifying characters carried out by the student in situ, within the project and within the installation. The comparison between one’s own design method and the territorial features is especially stimulating to understand the specific features of the physical and social environment, and it helps to define the potential of one’s intellectual work: therefore, it is an educational objective aimed at developing new professional figures and new skills. The works express the conditions for a project to enhance the historical, environmental heritage and are to be considered guidelines for building a Museum spread throughout the territory.
PITTI’S COLLETIONS (page 26) In the summer of 2000, after two years of intense, expensive and delicate work, the long-awaited restoration was finally
completely of the part of the Pitti Palace that since 1963 has housed the Costume Museum founded by Kristen Ashengreen Piacenti and directed by Carlo Sisi and Caterina Chiarelli. Having been restored to their original splendour, this elegant suite of small rooms provides the setting for the Gallery of Costume, whose collections have now been renewed and enlarged and are again open to the public. It is worth pointing out that this is the only museum dedicated to the history of fashion in Italy. This institution can boast a rare and conspicuous heritage consisting of over six thousand items, ranging from antique garments to theatrical costumes and fashion accessories. The thirteen rooms that house the permanent collection are still “inhabited”; they are lived in by an array of visually stunning figures: the mannequins. These silent figures are brought to life by seven different physical forms, accompanying the visitor with solemn and enigmatic rigidity in the discovery of the clothes and lifestyle of these far-off owners: the silhouettes, hairstyles and facial expressions all reflect the epoch, history and origin of the clothes on display. The exhibits are displayed in a series of basic, but high quality showcases. The bright rooms are fitted with numerous climate-controlled glass cases in which not only the clothes, but also the parasols, fans, shawls, shoes and other accessories tell a surprising story, because of both the intrinsic beauty of the objects themselves and their ability to outline the historical evolution of taste over the centuries. The staggering size of the Museum’s resources certainly rules out the simultaneous display of the entire collection. But in practice this should not be seen as a limit, but on the contrary an advantage, since it leads to the endless renewal of the outfits on display, which the mannequins present to new visitors with amiable docility. This also encourages earlier visitors to return to the Gallery in order to appreciate the value of its exhibits and its renewed and dynamic appearance. The exhibition areas are divided into four sections. The first, justifiably referred to as “historical”, contains about thirty examples, many of which have never been seen, dating between the 18th century and early 20th century. In addition to the oldest items, visitors to this section can admire a delicate mannequin with a wasp-waist and hair gathered at the nape, according to the fashion of the time, wearing a charming day-dress
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