In Milan, Elia Festa stars with Blau, an immersive solo exhibition on the relationship between the sea and ecology

From Sept. 18 to Nov. 3, 2019, the elegant early 20th-century Art Nouveau building that houses theCivic Aquarium of Milan hosts among its walls and tanks the exhibition BLAU by artist Elia Festa (Milan, 1956) under the curatorship of Giancarlo Lacchin, Fortunato D’Amico and Vittorio Erlindo, promoted by the Municipality of Milan - Culture and the Aquarium - Civic Hydrobiological Station of Milan and organized by Opera d’Arte Milano.

Known and appreciated as a photographer already in the late 1970s today Elia Festa is a visual artist who captures with his lens details of common objects, architecture, phenomena, and lights that often escape the common gaze. He reworks them, captures their essentiality, scrutinizes their soul revealing their deepest and hidden part. And so his works, which may initially look like shapeless, abstract blobs, hark back to distant evocative landscapes that ignite emotions and curiosity. Festa’s works move from reality by scrutinizing details, discovering reverberations that defined by the eye take on a new independent life.

With the exhibition project Blau, Elia Festa brings into dialogue with water and the fluid element the shaded and almost kaleidoscopic forms of his images in which the stability of the corporeal and figurative dimension is intertwined and deformed by exploiting the inexhaustible potential of technology.

The exhibition, which also benefits from the collaboration of architect Giovanni Ronzoni, consists of photographs, sculptures and installations that, in dialogue with the surrounding space, invite reflection on the theme of the difficult relationship between man and the environment with particular reference to the exploitation of water resources and the phenomenon of the so-called “plastic islands” that have long infested our seas. In this exhibition, which has found the important support of Corepla, the National Consortium for the collection, recycling and recovery of plastic packaging, Festa confronts an entirely new field for his “poetics” by providing an artistic interpretation on the theme of plastics and the environmental catastrophe that threatens to cause irremediable wounds to our Planet. In this perspective, with the 40 works on display (visual works, installations, virtual reality) the artist acts on the image by creating unexpected correspondences with reality and enhancing symmetries that only the imagination succeeds in the task of discovering and bringing to expression.

The exhibition path begins with the section “the mirror of water” consisting of a large floor ledwall that recreates a fantasy marine environment in which plants and animals interact as if they were in a miniature ocean. This is the first contact with the exhibition’s themes: visitors step on the monitor contaminating an environment that, before their passage, lives undisturbed. The next space called “The Vortex” features an art installation representing a labyrinth made of walls of recycled plastics in which the visitor will experience a feeling of discomfort and bewilderment by coming into continuous contact with plastic materials. This is followed by the area of the “fish tanks” with luminous works that recall the melting of glaciers until arriving at the “winter garden,” the heart of the exhibition, with 14 large works by the artist representing the theme of water in its different forms.

The exhibition itinerary, which is strongly experiential for the visitor, closes with “the Immersion Room” in which a play of projections of Festa’s works on themes related to water and plastics, accompanied by musical effects with music by Piero Salvatori, enhances the suggestion of walking on ocean floors below the large plastic islands, completely immersed in water. Visitors thus become guests in an environment of which they simultaneously discover that they are the cause of the discomfort they have in exploring it.

Also placed along the path are the works of other artists, called upon by Elia Festa to dialogue with him on the issues of climate change and environmental protection. Alfredo Rapetti Mogol’s installation, in which the transfer of the word to the “artistic vision” increasingly takes on tangible and corporeal connotations, signals the entrance to the exhibition and to the journey the visitor will have to make within a short labyrinth to access, then, the other exhibition spaces. Eve Carcan, the artistic duo formed by Claudia Cantoni and Patricia Carpani, is present with a work dedicated to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals promulgated by theUnited Nations’ Agenda 2030. In agreement with Michelangelo Pistoletto, a Third Paradise is set up. Some of the paintings made by Elia Festa on the theme of pollution of the seas by plastics are used for its representation. Also placed around Pistoletto’s sign are lecterns in which it will be possible to read texts by Alfredo Rapetti Mogol Cheope and Giulio Rapetti Mogol, whose subject matter is water and the sea.

Meetings on the theme of the relationship between art and sustainability will be held during the exhibition period, as well as educational initiatives for children, schools and families run by the Verdeacqua Association.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog published by Skira Edizioni containing introductory texts signed by curators Giancarlo Lacchin, Fortunato D’Amico and Erlindo Vittorio.

At a very young age, Elia Festa meets the artist Ibrahim Kodra and begins to frequent his studio and with him the entire Milanese art world, and in particular Pierre Restany who will introduce him to his first exhibitions The Age of Thought and Reflections. He works as a freelancer for Young & Rubican Agency. He collaborates with Photology Milan and London since 1993 making reportages and portraits in galleries all over the world, He knows and attends many of the most important photographers of the 20th century, including the Master Mario Giacomelli with whom he establishes a friendship and artistic relationship. With Photology he participated in Artbasel ’96 and AIPAD New York ’96-’97-’98-’99. In 2000 he exhibits at Villa Impero-Photology Bologna and publishes for Photology the decade-long work, portrait and atmosphere genre, in the review of the great authors of international photography “100 to 2000.” He met the director Salvino Raco with whom he realized in 2006 the Performance “The Race of Sizwe Kondhile” whose photographic works were projected at the Milan Triennale. Inspired by this work he realizes the project “It’s about blood,” dedicated to Nelson Mandela and the pain and soul of the great human sacrifice of African history. In 2010 he presents “Microbes” at the “Studio Visconti” gallery in Milan. In March 2013, she presents the work “Black Lights” at Officine Creative Ansaldo in Milan, a work on violence to women, minors, and the handicapped in collaboration with director Salvino Raco, the Bicocca University of Milan and the Embassy of Sweden. In 2015 - Last Supper at Estearte International Contemporary Art Fair - Punta dell’Este - Uruguay and Photology Garzon Uruguay and also in 2015 - SI.C.L.A.; Questo ricordo lo vorrei raccontare - Photology - Noto - Italy. In 2016 - “Giants & Microbes” - Mondogaleria - Madrid - Spain. In 2017 - “Tekton” - Zona Maco Mexico Arte Contemporaneo - Mexico City, also in 2017 - “Sprint Time Table” with Matteo Fantoni and Paula Lattes - Pau Design Container - Milan - Italy and “Long Playing Table” - “David Bowie Tribute” curated by Monica Colussi, London. In 2017 at Palazzo delle Stelline in Milan he presents “Born especially in Milan” anthological exhibition curated by Fortunato D’Amico who says about him, “Light is for Elia Festa the absolute protagonist material of art.” In 2018 he began important collaboration with Accenture with the work "It is important to let the mind breathe.

Educational workshops in collaboration with Verdeacqua

Sunday, Sept. 22 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 13 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Sunday, October 27 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Thursday, Sept. 26, 6 p.m., presentation of the exhibition catalog

Tuesday, Oct. 15, scientific meeting on plastics

For all information you can call +39 02 88465750.

Source: press release

In Milan, Elia Festa stars with Blau, an immersive solo exhibition on the relationship between the sea and ecology
In Milan, Elia Festa stars with Blau, an immersive solo exhibition on the relationship between the sea and ecology

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