February 15 – March 18, 2018
The Art and Craft Museum in collaboration with the Italian Institute for Culture in Zagreb with Italian Light presents to the Croatian public outstanding examples of Italian design in the field of home lighting from the early 1950s to the end of the 90s of the 20th century from the Cortopassi Collection. The exhibition curator is signed by Studio Archeo900 from Ferrare.
The selected avant-garde lamps clearly point out one of the most important and most pertinent features of Italian design in the area of home lighting – it was never just functional and even less conditioned by production laws.
Designing projects were always interwoven with deeper inquiries, which resulted in the final product and the thought dimension.
All the architects and designers who worked in the period since the end of World War II have worked completely free and unhindered until today. Designing a lamp, an object that regulates intangible appearance-light, has enabled this branch of design to explore and express not only functionality, but also the profound aspects of human nature and the connection of man to the world.
In this regard, the lamp exhibition presents a privileged view of Italian design and its theoretical set-up through three key periods.
In the period from 1950 to 1965, the field of lighting technology and its production is being developed. This is the transition from a handful of craft companies engaged in the production of lamps outside the historical tradition of dividing the markets of modern serial furniture between small and medium-sized companies.
The slogan is the functionalism that comes from Northern Europe and represents a new cultural background that is opposed to the legacy of traditional historical styles very present in Italy after the Second World War.
However, the interpretation of the subject and their functionality has been very complicated and elaborated from the outset.
The criterion of functionality, on the one hand, is used to break the bonds with legacy of the past, and on the other, it opposes the education of Italian designers who, after the Second World War, operate in Milan, a town that draws ideas and collaborations between artists, architects and writers.
In the period from 1965 to 1980, the design of lighting fixtures is not only the solution to the technical problem of proper lighting, but the questioning of functional customs through a new look at the world, society and the fate of design design itself. The shape of the lamp and the light effect it gives embraces such a symbolic function, expressing and offering a broader concept.
Light thus gains new value: not only illuminates the real objects, defeating the dark, but also reveals and approaches the complex intangible reality.
This profound change in the field of design of these years evolves in various theoretical directions, based on the conceptual and critical design (E. Sottsass Jr., Archizoom and Superstudio) of the pop matrix in the Mediterranean cultural context (Chiara’s lamp, Bellini’s Bell and “Profiterole” Sergia Astija), and finally, a scientific and experimental approach to the movement of Arte Programme (Gruppo Dam, Gruppo ARDITI, New Lamp Marija Venta).
Foul and discordant colors, strong textures of plastic surfaces, imbalances in form, different materials that are not imitated, represent great freedom of shaping in the period 1980 to 2000.
Their original aim is not to find decorative, playful signs that would be contrary to the purpose of the subject, but to give the methodological openness of the project to present a society that is no longer homogeneous, static and one-dimensional, but discontinuous and in constant transformation.
This break with rationalistic and functional current in design, and the confirmation of the necessity of pure research, the liberalized market law, was a clear sign of opening new generations at the international level. The foundations for a contemporary design are created today, characterized by global cultural exchanges and a complex number of choices.
Projects such as postmodernist work by Aldo Rossi, Kazuik Takahame, material eclecticism by Tony Corder and dramatic symbolism of Gaetan Pesce will be exhibited.