The Doublefold Dream of Art

2RC - between artist and maker
Curated by Achille Bonito Oliva
Text by Amb. Umberto Vattani President of the ICE
MOA - Museum of Arts - Seoul National University

Lhe intimate link between the ideal of beauty and the concrete dimension of making is one of the traits that most fascinates those who approach the Italian product. ICE is well aware of this and for this reason, everywhere in the world, it promotes and defends our creations.

Whether it is a machine or a work of art, both are born from the skilled hands of a designer, often comparable to a true Master of Art: a name of strong suggestion, which the Italian has inherited from Iatino, indicating the at the same time the manual skill and the imaginative flair of someone who knows how to combine beauty with the useful, the immaterial charm with the tangibility of the object.

It is a capacity that is the result of a millenary tradition that was born in ancient Rome, when there was no great difference between noble art and craftsmanship: just look at the embossed and chiseled silver cups, the ornaments of the imperial courts, what remains of bronze artifacts or glass of the Caesars.

The ancient Roman ideology of artefex reaches the hate "Made in Italy" embellished by the extraordinary qualitative leap generated by the Renaissance when the artist's work carves out a prestigious intellectual role. This explains why ICE has always linked this broad cultural phenomenon to its promotion and dissemination of Italian "art products", since the exhibitions organized with the Domus magazine in the XNUMXs in Zurich, Amsterdam, London, Paris and in the United States. Those ICE exhibitions presented objects of common use to the international public - chairs, lamps, typewriters, cutlery - isolating them from the context and creating specific arrangements to exhibit them as if they were works of art. And so the accent has shifted from the product to the maker, to the one who affixes his signature to the object.

All this is still repeated today: only three years ago at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai, in agreement with Achille Bonito Oliva, we represented the indissoluble link between art and object to the point that the Chinese critic Victoria Lu coined the subtitle “A New Art: the Made in Italy ”to the slogan created by Achille Bonito Oliva“ Italy Made in Art ”.

It is no coincidence that Made in Italy is still today a reality made up of famous names and surnames all over the world. The legendary Fiat 500 - just one example among the countless available - is inextricably linked in the collective imagination to its creator: Dante Giacosa, one of the masters of the Italian motor school. In fifty years, anyone who has tried to imitate it has failed and in this first decade of the new century it has come back strongly to the fore, the result of a modus operandi attributable to the same artisan hand and for this reason rewarded by the public.

ICE is deeply aware of the illustrious genealogy of Made in Italy and for this reason, when it spreads its products abroad, it does so with the conviction that the economic aspect is never independent from the artistic one.

The catalog of this exhibition is placed in the perspective of this vision: we could not escape the temptation to express a tribute to the work of two great Italian printer masters which are Valter and Eleonora Rossi, whom I have known for many years, founders of 2RC Edizioni. of Art, whose prestigious publishing activity of graphic works has taken on an international dimension in the three offices in Rome, Milan and New York.

II I believe "merging the process of making an engraving with the creative act" has ensured him the collaboration with authors of the caliber of Afro, Burri, Caporossi, Chillida, Clemente, Cucchi, Dorazio, Ray, Fontana, Manzu, Miro , Vasarely, Segal. For the Reds, the progress of graphic art is closely related to the degree of mastery that can be expressed by savvy printers in advanced techniques. The final result of their work thus comes to place itself between the happiest and most innovative products of publishing and contemporary art. As evidence of the excellence of this activity, both productive and creative, each of the Rossi's creations is to be defined as a unique object, deliberately unrepeatable because it is made entirely by hand, the result of the inspiration of the moment, associated with a high intellectual awareness. What to say then of their famous presses, majestic monuments of how doing can be linked to creating, successfully challenging complex and delicate coloristic, dimensional and relevant problems.

Taking a cue from the work of Valter and Eleonora Rossi there is a further point that ICE is interested in and that it is necessary to evoke in this preface: the protection of intellectual property, of creation. Each artistic artifact solidifies a fragment of the eternal and speaks with special immediacy to the spirit. It is not right for others to appropriate it, replacing it with the illusion of a surrogate emotion. In the field of graphic production, there is a strong temptation to remake, imitate and multiply because they are multiple works, each one only apparently identical to the other, but in reality always original thanks to the exceptional and unrepeatable quality of the vigilance manifested by the craftsman printer. Already in ancient Rome, at the time of the Gente Giulia and the Gente Claudia, this was understood perfectly, so much so that in the hundreds of rooms of the highly refined Domus Aurea only original works were exhibited.

At ICE we are convinced that counterfeit products obscure the original, and therefore authentic, visual, tactile, taste and auditory experience.

It is for these reasons that ICE is actively engaged through 14 anti-counterfeiting desks and the entire worldwide network of its offices in a further important mission that is added to the promotional one: to explain and illustrate the peculiarities of the Italian object, to make people understand that it must always and everywhere be respected as such. Furthermore, the strong operational connotation of the Institute characterizes it as an indispensable tool to raise awareness among companies on the opportunity to prevent counterfeiting through the timely achievement of trademarks and patents and to inform them of the action that the ICE carries out to defend the rights of Intellectual property. Moreover, it should not be forgotten that Italy also boasts a first-fruit in the expression of legal sensitivity for the protection of copyright. The Convention stipulated with Austria by Solaro della Margarita, Minister of Foreign Affairs of King Carlo Alberto, in June 1840, provided for the mutual protection of intellectual and artistic works. This Convention, which had the force of law for each of the States of the Peninsula that had acceded to it, constituted the archetype of the discipline of copyright.

Horace's admonition “stultum imitatorum pecus” was taken up by Leonardo da Vinci in his Treatise on Painting, where I affirm with marvelous clarity that there is no copy that has the same value as the original. Words that we at the ICE can only subscribe to.