The dialogue with twentieth-century European art. The creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of a great Italian fashion house. The extraordinary culture and brilliance of its two founders. These are the themes of the exhibition that MA*GA of Gallarate (VA) is dedicating, from 19 April to 8 November 2015, to Ottavio and Rosita Missoni, in the city that they chose in 1953 for their home and first artisan workshop.
In the year of EXPO Milan, the success and international recognition won by the Missonis in the fields of textile design and fashion stand as one of the most accredited voices of the Made in Italy label, representing the value of a geographical territory and testifying to the brand's capacity for generating languages and connections with the greatest modern and contemporary artists.
The exhibition, the spaces of which will themselves be designed as works of environmental art, is organised into different narrative registers that outline the main characteristics of the brilliance of the Missonis, made up of colour, material and shape. At the same time, it reveals the extremely close tie between their creativity and art, a characteristic that makes the brand all but unique in the world of international fashion.
The exhibition Missonio, Art, Colour, curated by Luciano Caramel and Emma Zanella, is the fruit of joint collaboration between the City of Gallarate, the Museo MA*GA and the Missoni Archive, with contributions and support from the Region of Lombardy - Office of Culture, Identity and Self-Governance, the Province of Varese and the Chamber of Commerce of Varese, and the participation of the Gallerie d’Italia - Piazza Scala (Milan). The exhibition is also part of the Grand Tour EXPO project.
The exhibition opens with Fashion House, a video installation by the artist Ali Kazma that interprets the work of the 'Missoni House'. Entering their world, the Turkish artist focuses on the approach used by the Missonis for the company's entire production cycle, emphasising the happy marriage between artisan knowledge and the search for the most advanced design.
The exhibition then shifts to an analysis of the cultural roots that influenced the Missonis' choices in terms of design, colour, pattern and shape, intrinsic features of their style. This section focuses on abstract and aniconic European art from the first half of the twentieth century, presenting works by Giacomo Balla, Sonia and Robert Delaunay, Fortunato Depero, Osvaldo Licini, Mauro Reggiani, Nicolay Diulgheroff, Lucio Fontana, Otto Freundlich, Jean Hèlion, Auguste Herbin, Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Alberto Magnelli, Piet Mondrian, Enrico Prampolini, Gino Severini, Sophie Tauber Arp, Manlio Rho, Mario Radice, Atanasio Soldati, Luigi Veronesi and Bruno Munari.
Colour, material and shape are also the fulcra around which the Missonis' never-ending research revolves. This theme is explored in a major installation of clothing designed and set-up especially for the exhibition and MA*GA by the Missonis themselves and entirely dedicated to the fascination and glamour of the fashion house's history-making pieces.
The final section of the exhibition explores the relationship between the creative thought of Ottavio Missoni and contemporary Italian art, with colour studies, pictorial works and tapestries placed in dialogue with works by Mario Ballocco, Gianni Bertini, Giuseppe Capogrossi, Roberto Crippa, Nino Di Salvatore, Piero Dorazio, Achille Perilli, Tancredi, Emilio Vedova, Luigi Veronesi, Carla Accardi, Giovanni Anceschi, Alberto Biasi, Davide Boriani, Dadamaino, Giulio Turcato and Grazia Varisco.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, published by Rizzoli and edited by Luciano Caramel and Emma Zanella, and complemented by a rich calendar of events and educational programmes.