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  • A variety Carlo Scarpa’s displays for the Palazzo Abatellis, photographed by Armin Linke.

  • From left: “Untitled” (2015); “Untitled” (2015). By Diego Perrone.

  • From left: “The Hidden Conference: About the Discontinuous History of Things We See and Don’t See” (2010); “The Hidden Conference: A Fractured Play” (2012); “The Hidden Conference: About the Shelf and Mantel” (2015). By Rosa Barba.


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Acqua di Parma’s “I’ll Be There Forever – The Sense of Classic” exhibition in Milan

Acqua di Parma, the prestigious Italian company known for its extraordinary perfumes and candles, inaugurated some days ago in Milan its first ever contemporary art exhibition, titled “I’ll Be There Forever – The Sense of Classic”. Curated by Cloe Piccoli, art critic and art director of Acqua di Parma Contemporary Art Projects, and in collaboration with the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in Milan, the exhibition aims to open a dialogue between classic and contemporary art, bringing together the works of some of the most thrilling Italian artists of today: Rosa Barba, Massimo Bartolini, Simone Berti, Alberto Garutti, Armin Linke, Diego Perrone and Paola Pivi.

The exhibition, which features a variety of paintings, photographs, films and installations, many of them specially commissioned by Acqua di Parma for the occasion, is staged at Palazzo Cusani, in the heart of Milan. The Palazzo is a 17th century private residence that was designed by Giovanni Ruggeri and was later renovated between 1775 and 1779 by Giuseppe Piermarini, with a stunning neoclassical rear façade in the courtyard. With its perfectly preserved Baroque frescoes and stuccoes, Palazzo Cusani seemed to be the perfect place for the exhibition that aims to explore the notion of classic through a variety of different artistic perspectives. As Cloe Piccoli states, the concept of classic in this exhibition doesn’t refer to a specific style or citation, but rather echoes an atmosphere, an inspiration, a fleeting and ephemeral element with a persistent presence.

“In I’ll Be There Forever, the classic is not intended as a canon. It is not the concept of balance, grace and harmony. Not the idea of the Athenian democracy in the days of Phidias, not even that of man at the centre of the universe, of Piero della Francesca (…) The idea of the classic in I’ll Be There Forever is that of a process of intricate growth that puts different elements in relation to each other, forming a new dialogue that invents new forms and meanings. But it is also the idea of the classic as memory, belonging, sharing,explains Piccoli.

Exploring the dual nature of the exhibition, the architectural studio Kuehn Malvezzi came up with an intelligent exhibition design that juxtaposes the contemporary with the neoclassical character of the Palazzo Cusani, using hand-made fabrics from the extensive catalogue of Venetian company Rubelli with some amazing results. “I’ll Be There Forever – The Sense of Classic” will remain on view until June 4, 2015, at Palazzo Cusani, Via Brera 13-15, Milan. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Electa, featuring essays by Cloe Piccoli, Alessandro Rabottini, Martin Herbert, Pier Paolo Tamburelli and Paola Nicolin.