HAPPENINGText: Francesco Tenaglia

The 50s are generally regarded as a period that, more than others, have contributed to establish and summarize the “Italian style” all over the world: the flourishing of characteristically local flavor in design, fashion, cinema and architecture are commonly interpreted as a translation into the visual domain of the sense of excitement and optimism derived from the post-war political and economic reconstruction of the country.

Fiat Nuova 500, Dante Giacosa (1955)

It’s no surprise that exhibition “The 1950s: the Birth of Italian Creativity”, born with the intention of making a multidisciplinary survey of this period and held at the Palazzo Reale near the Duomo of Milan, has been anticipated as one of this years major blockbuster shows.

Pirelli Tower, Gio Ponti (1956)

This exhibition with its 3000 square meters of exhibition space contains over 700 works making the visit a fulfilling immersive experience of one of the most creative moments in Italian history. The list of artists whose work is displayed is almost overwhelming: painters (Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri, Renato Guttuso etc.), fashion designers (Ferragamo, Gucci etc.), industrial designers (Dante Giacosa, Bruno Munari, Marcello Nizzoli etc.) architects (Gio Ponti, Carlo De Carli, Carlo Scarpa etc.). And there’s still space for photography, video and assorted custom.

Lettera 22, Marcello Nizzoli (1949)

The single objects still retain the original charm, only enriched by the patina of time and by the repeated encounters: Nizzoli’s “Lettera 22” (1949), a typewriter conceived for journalists in 1950 and soon to be adopted in foreign editing rooms and spotted in American movies or Giacosa’s “Fiat Nuova 500” car (1955) along with many other creations shown in here are milestones, but the overall curatorial style is mainly addressed at giving a taste of the global feel of the decade and of its cultural climate with an occasional, and not too invasive, slightly nostalgic perspective.

Visiting this ambitious show is a demanding but worthwhile effort.

The 1950s: the Birth of Italian Creativity
Date: March 4th – September 11th, 2005
Place: Palazzo Realee
Address: 12 Piazza Duomo, 20122 Milano
Tel: +39 (0)2 8846 5230

Text: Francesco Tenaglia
Photos: Courtesy of Artificioskira

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