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  Arts & Living
Walking Art & One Hundred Suns: Italian Design
At Daejeon Asia Museum on Dec. 22-Feb. 20, 2007
Walking Art & One Hundred Suns: Italian Design

The Korean public knows Italian products well. They are appreciated, bought and imitated. Maybe the reason of their charm and why they are requested worldwide has not been thoroughly investigated until now. With the exhibition opening in Daejeon what we want to prove is that the beauty of Italian products is to be found in a wide range of objects and that their success depends not only on the ability of our designers, but also on the consistent and valid support of our industries, which have kept the old know-how and have conjugated it with the new technologies.

The exhibition focuses on two significant Italian products: footwear and lamps.

Italian shoes are very well appreciated in Korea and this exhibition is meant to show visitors who wear them how complex the process of making them is in terms of history, talent and skills and how the result is the charm of Italian style.

The Italian footwear is the result of high level handicraft as to manufacturing technique, creativity and research of new materials, which shows that artists have always been in tune with the atmosphere of the times. The Italian style is based on the awareness that our ancient civilization relies on art, culture, region, handicraft and manufacturing ability without forgetting to adapt it to the new and most advanced technologies. Italian manufacturers have been prepared to renounce the quantity of production in favour of aesthetic quality : this is the added value that distinguishes our production from mass production. Nowadays we are used to thinking that every object has a symbolic dimension which goes beyond its use or collocation. This is why even in choosing a pair of shoes we look for an aesthetic justification. "Made in Italy" products rely on a millenary tradition that is flexible to the signs of time and change according to it creating styles and manners which are functional and conceptual. At times it is the new technologies that inspire formal solutions : technique then becomes source of creative imagination. Other times it is intuition and inspiration to suggest more research for new manufacturing processes. Especially in the latter the Italian talent is recognized as indisputably prominent and it is precisely what makes one say that "beautiful footwear" implies some artistic commitment.

As far as Italian lamps are concerned Korean people reserve no less admiration to them than to footwear. As they are already used to our art in general they will find in this exhibition the variety and richness of Italian design for light. The exhibition coming from Sartirana Art Foundation in Pavia guides our way from the 30ies through the recently-made luminescent optical fibres objects.

As Mr. Forni, the Director of the Foundation, says: "in a modest, though, ironic and funny way we want to show works made with and for light, which result from the commitment of artists, designers, architects on the one hand and from the Italian industry which invested in research in order to transform ideas into quality products on the other."

The artistic value of the exhibition stands in the objects where a creative force chooses materials once only related to mere functionality and bends them into artistic forms. With a lighting source we can play, get excited or try to create new sensations. Moreover, once switched off, the lamp becomes a decorative object which needs to be inserted in a suitable background.

I am sure the exhibition will match the expectation to give some historical knowledge to the spontaneous admiration it will provoke in the visiting public. I thank all those who have made it possible in Italy and the Korean Institutions that will host it.

Luigino Zecchin
Director of the Italian Cultural Institute






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