A lot has been said at the various DAC meetings on the theme of production, in particular industrial production, but the important thing is to bring this together with cultural production and at times the courses these take are parallel. Even Michelangelo Pistoletto‘s Cittadellarte Foundation participates in cultural production and this creates the basis of all the work that it continuously produces.
Throughout my career I have aimed to bring artists into business so as to violently clash with businessmen and with their companies, and it has been very interesting to see not only how the artist has gained an empathy with the matter itself within the various businesses, but also to see how the businessman – not exactly in tune with the world of contemporary art – has been moved by this relationship. This shows that art, in turn, has a problem in terms of production, of technology, of research that is common to industrial production. This architecture, of which I consider myself a champion, has a strong responsibility which is that of being the cohesive element that holds the different disciplines together with the aim of giving a harmonic, productive result.
The fundamental theme is that of sharing, and working for years alongside artists and businesses, we have ascertained that there is symmetry between the reasoning that moves the artist and that which moves the business and this is due to a temporary “deviation” in horizon.
The challenge of this pavilion has been that of saying that a relationship, “a common ground”, is created between culture and business which is not to the advantage of just the latter but also to society. This Italian Pavilion was born from an attempt to understand what is happening within the territory and we have seen that what is Italian is invaded by a myriad of small and medium-sized businesses with products of excellence that have challenged the international markets but that have however a not always positive impact on the land. These businesses are indeed distributed and situated in small centres and have certain “communitarian” dimensions, then after having reached a certain consistence, today they have the “commercial need for architecture” in that they have understood that there was the necessity to have quality in terms of structure.
I have a research project called Arte e Industria (Art and Industry) with which I have tried, and in some cases I have succeeded, in making the two entities work together. We have come here with Michelangelo Pistoletto, through RAM radioartemobile that has brought this figure of Italian and International art to the Biennale. The piece concludes the course taken by the Italian Pavilion, curated by the architect Zevi, that not by coincidence this year began his own speech by talking about the figure of Adriano Olivetti. The “great entrepreneur” in his time identified the problem of ”human resources”; man as a fundamental element of industrial production.
Small and medium-sized businesses, territorial capitalism and architectural necessity remind us of something and Olivetti, who was the first in chronological order, was born in this way. This is way we wish to operate. Together with the architect Robino we planned over the last three months an Olivettian convention called Making the Maximum Profit from Art, with the aim of showing that all the investments that Olivetti put into architecture, culture and art are all investments that contributed greatly to scientific and artistic research and this way of acting over the years has been and still is now an example for many businesses born later. If you want to make money, culture is indispensable. Money has come out, destroying the territory, but if we want to make it now we must repair it and it is for this reason that there must be a strong relationship with culture and with certain “needs” dictated by society.
Michelangelo Pistoletto’s work, as attested in Giardino delle Vergini (Garden of the Virgins) overlooking the Pavilion, like a work of strong social value, a work that does not exist solely in itself but that wishes to be, for the entire duration of the event, a meeting point in which this is the first. This piece is therefore a meeting place where one can speak of production, art, architecture, human resources with the idea of making a sort of “ground zero” on the current theme of architectural and industrial production.
Production is the fundamental theme of cinema, in the sense that the industry is based on the need to bring together many things and to find a means with which to do so, yet when one thinks of producing a film this does not happen and at this time, even in Italy, it is impossible to be able to make a film. A film is the sharing of work produced by artisans that only in particular cases manage to “hit the target” and to “find the balance that can give the idea of something special”. On the theme of beauty, I agree with Alviani when he says that we need to continue searching for it around us and that we must “eliminate the rubbish that appears before our eyes”. Recently I have not made films in that I have decided to not work in conditions in which I could not have “control”. I have worked with certain producers with whom I did not get along at all and the producer is an important figure in cinema, and from that point I have chosen to become my own producer with the consequence that now I have total control of what I do, even of the people I choose to collaborate with. Film making means putting together many things: the actors, the shots, the colours, the images, the costumes and all this the public sees distractedly. From this I have understood that it is better to “not make” and wait to “have absolute control” of things.
It is a coincidence for us “humble artisans” to be here around a work of art with real artists. Our work, in my opinion, is very far from what I consider that of the “absolute” artists such as Getulio, Pistoletto or others. Our contribution as producers, and in my case as a costume designer, is in “making a film by”, or rather in having an “obligated” contact with the clothing but our work leads us to having contact with businesses and producers. There is something called, in fact, sponsoring, which I find horrible because it sounds like an exchange of goods, that allows me to create characters within a film and to have a series of clothes available thanks to the collaboration with certain fashion houses etc.
There are different ways of having a relationship in terms of this so-called sponsoring and I have always tried to take advantage of it for my part, which is the film. Yesterday we were talking precisely about this, how there has been a drift when speaking only of sponsoring the product, forgetting what is the real product – the film – which can also be the telling of a tale and which therefore has certain “communication needs”. Moreover, it was very interesting to see how the discussion leaned to the side of the producers, in this case Ferdinando, who in some way differently or similarly to an artist attempt to tell tales using and letting themselves use the business. I find that this is a very interesting form of communication which does not mean compromising purity or liberty, even that of a story, but which has to exist seen as what it is – realities exchanging information. Often the obtained results are very interesting and in my opinion indispensable in contemporary storytelling.
The last thing I want to say is that every time it happens to me I try to dig in, in my case into the fabric of contemporary art. Together with Ferdinando we will shoot a movie at the M’ART in Rovereto and I proposed creating costumes inspired by futurist art, therefore by the atmosphere of where we are shooting, but also by the contemporary atmosphere, that of Botta and current architects.
From the moment Ferdinando came and spoke to us about his film we were immediately convinced by the wonderful work he has done and we participated also because we wanted to give the Museum the idea of a place of “participation”, of “beauty”, of “education” that in a way have been the themes of this encounter. The Museum is being activated to use the word education not only towards the public but also for the business community of Trento. Ten years since the opening of the Museum I have understood that it should become a place to better myself and for this we have begun to collaborate with Ferdinando, in the sense that we have been of help to them by setting up encounters, visits with the aim of making people see art with new eyes, and he and his team have seen in the Museum the possibility of transforming themselves. This for us has been the triumph. From this came the project Arte e Industria (Art and Industry) to make the Museum a meeting point for businesses who see art as a force, an energy, a positivity, a will to transform oneself and to grow. The Museum is not only a place of conservation, exhibition and evaluation of works of art but it is also a place of participation, strength and ability.
How can we make the language of the businessman and that of the artist interact with the aim of reaching a common objective? The project born at Cittadellarte in 2005 called Forme in movimento – Ambasciata per il territorio italiano (Forms in Movement – Embassy for the Italian Territory) has precisely the objective of taking the Italian companies with “savoir-faire” into the world. This project was initiated locally, at Biella and some of the businesses from the area came to Cittadellarte to ask us how they could take their products, their excellences around the world, so first the Foundation then I personally continued what we set in motion and then we thought up the Cubi in movimento (Cubes in Movement). I invited artists from all over the world from the University of ideas and I told each one of them to create a small-sized cube and to have it made by high-quality artisan companies with various materials, for example wood, ceramic, glass, iron. Each artist had to create this cube in order to present one of the products of these companies, mainly gastronomic products but not only. We started with an exhibition of eight cubes, which then became sixteen and finally the twenty-two we have now, and these cubes represent the embassy of the Piedmont territory. It was wonderful to see how the artist saw and understood the logistics of the business and then tried to transmit their values in creating the cube so that the public could understand, from an artistic point of view, their Italian product. This project is understood by all, even by those that know nothing about art, because through the cube – which was created by an artist – we can get to know the business and its surrounding land.
The Cittadellarte Pistoletto Foundation has activated many connecting trajectories and collaborations with the textile sector and clearly that has been easier to do when the businessman has adopted a long-term vision and a familiar style of management. The project I want to speak about has the aim of forming a consortium between the businesses of the area, leading them as such to acquire the concept of “sharing”, specifically that of a trademark, of a destiny, of a problem and of a possible solution to it. This is not easy since both businessman and artist are profoundly conscious of their own role and of their own personality. It is necessary to bring together different industrial realities from a historical point of view and only then can the concept of “sharing” and of “system” be activated. We have gathered around forty businesses on a platform, a bit like this round table that meets around the Italia Riciclata (Recycled Italy), under the ambitious “marketing oriented” name of Best as an acronym of Bioethicalsustainabletrend, therefore a trend or rather a propensity towards what is ethical, sustainable and bio or linked to the “living”. These companies do not have the immediate “urgency” of arriving at the final consumer since this is not to whom this is aimed and at this point the symmetry between artist and businessman comes into play. If we work like artists we are not able to resolve their immediate problem nor can we put together a publicity campaign that sells more collections, but they can give their ideas or suggestions on the best course to take that the businessman will then have to turn from “direct current” to “alternate current”. If we as the mediating organisation “hide” this asymmetry in an attempt to immediately make a profit for our business, we harm the system of generating energy and using it because the energy that we create will be for the immediate period. This is a most complex operation and it is for this reason that the heart of Cittadellarte is a place of thought, of exchanging ideas, of practice, of school.
I had my last pleasure a few years ago when a man showed me a needle that could no longer be used. The top of the needle was opened, the thread inserted, closed up and then you could start sewing. Well, that was a pleasure while today it’s not that I live with “displeasures” but worse. Today I feel different compared to the years when “the project” was everything because absolute innovative situations were created. Consumerism only wants mistakes. Today we must try to avoid mistakes because the period we are going through leads us only to make mistakes, which I would deign to say are unthinkable. The current avant-garde situation is that of trying to not do anything because everything that surrounds us is amazing and sustained by thousands of words and so-called projects. In reality the concept itself of project contains within it something more serious, see for example the “invention of the telephone” project. I am astonished by all these words because I never hear them said as I live alone, far from everything, trying exclusively to avoid mistakes. Mistakes today are everywhere. For example, here we have certain constructions that were made when bricks, marble and stone were important. Today on the other hand we should create absolutely innovative situations “made out of pneumatic spaces”, that can be dismounted, that can take us to other places, in short “true” innovative situations, not just talk. In order to create “true” situations however we must have enormous ideas. Idea is a strong word, and how can we think of having the idea of something when one’s day is made up of, for instance, watching the television or gossiping? It is necessary to avoid everything, to do as I do, that is to live alone with no television or anything.
We architects are however “condemned” to optimism.