IN-BETWEEN. Where Art Meets Design.
Casa Baglioni, Milan
June 07 – June 12, 2022
Casa Baglioni, the new hotel in the Baglioni Collection set to open in Milan’s Brera district this year to a design by architects Spagnulo & Partners, offers a look behind the scenes during Milan Design Week, as it becomes the stage for an exclusive art exhibition: In-Between. Where Art meets Design. Spagnulo & Partners have created a show to explore the subtle relationship between art and design that underpins the concept for the new Casa Baglioni. It features works by four great international artists – Agostino Bonalumi, Anne Imhof, Enrico Castellani and Giulio Paolini – from the Stefano Cecchi Trust Collection, created by entrepreneur Stefano Cecchi and curated by Iole Pellion di Persano.
The exhibition endorses the idea of a dialogue between interior design and works of art as a means of discovering new visual languages. It is a process that leads to a vision of an integrated space where art, design and architecture interweave to create a world of original expressive possibilities. With this event, Baglioni Hotels & Resorts and Spagnulo & Partners are championing this creative approach, as a conceptual overture to the future Casa Baglioni’s defining themes, inspired by the great artistic flowering of the 1960s Milan avant-garde. The exhibition features four spaces on the ground floor, each with a dedicated theme. It opens with a display of fine metal lines and neon lights that, like a pencil, trace out a lightweight structure that interacts with its surroundings, evoking an openness to present and future possibilities.
Then three white monochrome works exemplify an avant-garde language developed from the ’60s abstract period. Castellani’s and Bonalumi’s shaped canvases reflect the formal trend in a period of change that saw industrial Milan assume a stand-out role on the international design scene. Castellani’s White surface (1980), an iconic large-shaped canvas with a precise yet rhythmical composition in a wave of solids and voids, is juxtaposed here with two pieces from Bonalumi’s White series (1973 and 1974). Together, these three white works with different yet equally pronounced relief shapes underline the beauty of a technique that transcends its own rigid repetitiveness to keep creating new rhythms and impressions in a play of light and shade.
The second room explores the theme of reflections and mirrored surfaces – that ambiguous dimension that muses on a work’s role, whether starring or bit-part and that of the spectator in becoming part of it and bringing it alive in a continual interplay of meaning. The floor, a pool of water, accentuates that sense of disorientation and indeterminacy pondered by the two Untitled (2018, 2019) works by Anne Imhof. This paradoxical artist wowed the contemporary-art establishment and market three years ago with her powerful installations and performance pieces, including a one-woman show at Paris’s Palais de Tokyo and SEX at Rivoli castle. The third installation plays with the permeability of the gaze, using light and surfaces to create moods and sight lines, where the work is revealed in a syncopated rhythm. The textile walls conjure with a juxtaposition of weaves and transparencies to accompany Giulio Paolini’s Comédie Italienne (1984), a piece abounding in artistic and literary echoes with intimate links to theatrical themes.
Visitors are invited to discover the artist’s work as a stage when the curtain draws back: the scene teems with a diverse array of extras announcing a performance that we are left constantly awaiting. The final room is a look to the future, a window on the passage of time through videographer Fabrizio Roscini’s eyes. Contemplating the construction process as it unfolds, bearing witness, and framing the various stages of the work as a tableau vivant, lends its protagonists their rightful importance within the whole. “I am excited about this artistic venture conceived with our key partners at the new Casa Baglioni to celebrate the art and design of ’60s Milan,” commented Guido Polito, Baglioni Hotels & Resorts CEO.
“A dialogue with art is a unique experience, prompting us to radically rethink how we conceive of space and design. It is a journey that endows designs with meaning, enabling them to interact with the world,” adds Federico Spagnulo, Founder and Senior Partner at Spagnulo & Partners. The exhibition has been created with top partners from the Made in Italy arena, with Panzeri Illuminazione, and Zucchetti. Kos, Dedar and the kind cooperation of Guisa Costruzioni, Gabana Arredamenti and Chef Claudio Sadler, auteur of the Casa Baglioni cuisine.