- Milan? Again?
I hear you say.
And yes I have been promising, for a while now, glimpses of Canada, the US and France. However I'm going back to Milan, this blog's home city, once more. There are two reasons for this:
- I have about 1,000,000,000,000 photos to sort through from my travels this summer
- There's this art exhibition in Milan that you really need to go see before it ends!
But first icecream:
It may be September and positively nippy in the UK right now but Milan last week was a balmy summer's dream. On our way to the gallery, we took advantage of the summer weather and grabbed a cone from Souvenir d'Italie on Via Moscova.
Even though it's super close to the flat, I'd never actually had one of their icecreams - mistake! It was absolutely sublime. The raspberry was incredibly raspberryish (?!), the milk chocolate was perfectly rich and smooth and the vanilla bourbon cut through the two flavours like a dream.
I hadn't actually planned on blogging about the exhibition until I stepped into this room fairly near the beginning of the exhibit. From that moment on it was pretty much a snap a minute.
The exhibition is an extension of Expo, the big world fair taking place just on the outskirts of the city centre. The theme this year is food and how to meet the world's increasing demands for it, either due to population increase or the rise of the middle class in developing nations.
The first section charts the history of dining in Italy, initially appearing to be more history museum than art gallery. Some sections have been made up as rooms from specific eras like this excellent reproduction of an old bar (not sure that they would have had mirrored walls though?)
I loved this strange little pull-out dining room, with a rotating top containing all of the courses of the meal in little compartments:
Outside there were a few additional pieces such as a huge table made from a piece of wood dating back tens of thousands of years and this giant Daddy's ketchup bottle (why?!)
Fondazione Prada and Wes Anderson, eat your heart out; Triennale is the true home of Milanese kitsch!
Back inside we progressed to the next section of the exhibition. Whilst still documenting the history of food, as we moved towards the 60s, 70s and beyond the pieces on show became increasingly conceptual.
Can't help but wonder if they did this on purpose?:
Whilst some pieces were technically historic, the majority of this section was given over to art and it was interesting to see a mix of artwork and progressive technology. These rooms were painted in much brighter colours, contributing to the sense of progression and modernisation. I thought it was very cleverly done, especially as references to consumer culture, globalisation, capitalism and poverty were interspersed with pop art and our favourite brands (a theme that would truly explode in the final section of the exhibition!) It finished off with a little nod to a different take on eating - the eating of humans. Whilst there were some cannibal tools in the first historical section (disturbing), this time the focus was on vampires and zombies with clips from classic horror films being broadcast onto the walls.
The final section of the main exhibition took a further step forward into the future and focused mainly on conceptual art. I really enjoyed this section as although I don't really get modern art most of the time (MoMA slaughtered me I'm ashamed to admit) it was obviously themed around my favourite topic so I felt much more engaged.
The carriage was easily one of my favourite pieces in the entire gallery; if you peer in through the windows you'll see a single ball of mozzarella sitting comfortably on the leather seats. It's a play on Italian words - mozzarella in carrozza (which translates as mozzarella in a carriage) is a delicious, deep-fried delicacy on the peninsula. Seeing it depicted literally really tickled me!
I didn't get the mouldy flag banquet at all although I guess it's kind of cool how this exhibit will have been constantly changing since installation.
This bread house came from a private collection:
And the question on the tip of our tongues was - ?!?!!?
Where would you keep it, how would you transport it and why on earth would you have it in the first place?!
This slightly-smaller-than-lifestyle model of a woman was scarily realistic. I almost felt like I was intruding by taking a photo of her, as if she were simply a member of the public lost in some dismal daydream whilst I examined her and photographed her. As if she would suddenly snap to life and tell me where to stick my camera. Kind of scary!
As a long-term veg, I found this incredibly realistic painting of fresh meat very disturbing. The talent however cannot be disputed! I love realism in painting, I find it so fascinating when somebody can manipulate paint or pencil to almost photographic effect.
Possibly the most disturbing piece in the entire gallery. There was even a Ronald McDonald figurine stuck on a crucifix on top of a rock, a single Big Mac being dangled before him on the end of a spear.
The final part of the exhibition was Kitchen & Invaders which depicted kitchen technology as invading aliens complete with strange noises, flashing lights and industrial backdrops, making for a decidedly creepy experience!
In the end we spent a good few hours wandering around and for once in my life I didn't get bored and end up daydreaming about when it was going to end! (Again, MoMA killed me - does that make me terribly uncultured and ignorant?)
If you're in Milan, I thoroughly recommend this excellent exhibition as a great way to spend an afternoon. It's showing until 1 November so get there quick!
Triennale di Milano,
Viale Alemagna 6