Artistic craftsmanship project (page 8)
The cries of wonder say it all. “The applied arts are finally officially recognised: the recent Applied Arts Manifesto has been endorsed by the CNA (The Italian federation of craftsmen)” In this euphoric atmosphere the great misunderstanding continues, an ambiguity that has brought our artistic craftsmanship to increasingly lower and marginalized levels. On one hand there is the art of the “art system”: galleries, auctions and museums. On the other hand there is industrial design and, in the middle, that which remains of artistic craftsmanship, consisting an added value of which we know very little and have even less desire to explore. This territory has suffered greatly over the past few decades due to a lack of contribution of creativity and design, through which art and craft has always lived and prospered. But there is something else rearing its ugly header in this three part system, something extremely ambiguous and dangerous. The growth of the artist isolated in the specifics of one material: the artist-ceramist, a strange category of artist-sculptors who prefer one material over another. Their works are not “applied art” as they do not have a particular function and cannot be confused with the traditional works created for hundreds of years.
My Private Production (page 10)
Produzione Privata was founded after the demise of Memphis, the movement that supported the philosophy of creating projects arising from the needs of man as opposed to industry. However, the exterior, superficial appearance, the Memphis “ style”, was imposed, and few truly understood the central, deeper concept – research and experimentation. With Produzione Privata, my aim is to follow my reflections and express my own thoughts. The idea is to give value, prestige and future to the world of craft today. In the field of design, large businesses can no longer afford to experiment. They try
to create artificial reasons for innovative research - with great difficulty and even poorer results. However, the structure of craftsmanship still exists, and we must use it and stimulate it if it is to resist and not surrender as it threatens to now. The fields of research of Produzione Privata are divided into so-called “workshops”. Each of these workshops is dedicated to a certain material or design concept. In twelve years, nine workshops have been set up: the ceramics workshop, the marble workshop, the metal workshop, the “machine minime” or “minimal machines” workshop, the ready made workshop, the blown glass-lamps workshop, the blown glass-vases workshop and the folded glass workshop.
Ginori Manufacture (page 14)
The exhibition “Lucca and the porcelain of the Ginori manufacture, patrician commissions and orders of the court” is part of a vast program of exhibitions that Vittorio Fagone, Artistic Director of the Foundation, intends to develop over the next three years. The exhibition, fruit of three years of assiduous research, describes the complex historical relations between Lucca and the Ginori manufacture in a definitive analysis. The geniality, intelligence and foresight of the marquis Carlo Ginori are once again confirmed and exalted in this exhibition. The development of the activities of the Doccia manufacture, documented in the exhibition, also coincide with the major historical and political changes that emphasise the role of Lucca in the history of Tuscany. Giò Ponti’s contribution to the Doccia Manufacture (1923-1930) is revisited in a modern feel: forms, profiles and decorations processed in almost two centuries of activity. I believe that the interest with which the entire world now focuses on porcelain and ceramics in general can be interpreted not only in the sense of expansion of an area that has traditionally been one of painting and sculpture, but as the search for a counterbalance to the volatility of many images and expressions that represent our life goals. Ceramics are without doubt the first and
most universal expression of human creativity.
THE APPLIED ARTS IN FURNITURE (page 22)
Morelato’s production is well known for its unique quality, which can be summarised in the definition “classic-contemporary furniture”.. This ability to reissue collections referring to a certain historical period is based on constant research and experimentation. To do this, Morelato set up a Technical and Research Office, consisting of architects and carpenters who carefully examine the construction techniques used for the furniture, encouraging the reinterpretation of classic styles and models and adapting them for the furnishing of homes and contemporary public areas. This research has been carried out for twenty years now, and is oriented towards an ongoing experimentation of contemporary models with both explicit and subtle influences from classic models. The first group of items, partly displayed at the Museo Minguzzi in Milan, will eventually become a major part of the Museum of Applied Arts in Furniture. The works show certain aspects of design and workmanship in relation to classic furniture.
THE GLASS SCULPTURES OF TOOTS ZYNSKY (page 28)
Toots Zynsky was born in Boston in 1951. After gaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI in the United States, Toots worked with the Pilchuk School foundation in Seattle and became Dan Dailey’s assistant, one of the most important glass artists today. In the 1980s Toots met the Murano Glass maestro Mario Toso and began experimenting with the techniques of traditional glass pipes. The following year Venini invited Toots to Venice to design a series of special “one-off” pieces. The works consist of ultra-fine glass pipes – so fine they look like threads – assembled with an unusual technique invented by the artist.
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