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13.05 - 26.07.2023

These ghosts (Questi fantasmi) A comedy by Eduardo di Filippo that sees actors like Marcello Mastroianni, Franca Valeri, Renato Rascel, to name but a few, rise to fame.There are phantasms, phantoms, ghosts of every kind, often dwelling after death in castles that they do not want to leave and often sharing these spaces with vampires, a minor branch of phantasmagoria, situated between Romania and Bulgaria, homeland of Brancusi and Christo, birthplace of extraordinary fabrics and carpets: Transylvania.Nightmares that wake us up in the middle of the night are also called ghosts or, if you like, phantasms.Shove your hand into a bag found in the street and you are bitten by a snake. You let out a bloodcurdling scream, she wakes up shrieking at your yell. You are standing on the bed. She is looking at you, terrified. “Sorry, it was just a bad dream, a nightmare.” But what form did the nightmare take? The form of a ghost, of a phantasm!And what form do ghosts and phantasms take? They are formless. They appear as little white clouds with human features. Surely they are close to vampires, but though they can be impish, they are usually good and wouldn’t hurt a fly.Ghosts, amorphous by nature, secretly love forms. They are like Michelin Man: chubby, smiley, mischievous.Oh yes, form, the Egyptians with the form of pyramids, the Greeks with the kouroi and then Phidias, the Romans with their portraits, the Renaissance with Donato de’ Bardi, the Baroque with Bernini. And then, closer to us, Albert Speer gives a solid square form to the German squadrons, while arch. Marcello Piacentini applies ancient Roman urban planning ideals to build a formal and phantasmic reality in the EUR district.When the self-celebratory revelry, exemplified by the massive square lines of the regime, is over, the post-war years are driven by new forces that speak of reconstruction, of the will to live, of a new beginning. War lines no longer appeal to anyone, it is now time to show off, but in what form? FORMA (form) is the name chosen by a group of Italian artists who react against the diehard structure of fascism while understanding the dangers inherent in communism which, after all, makes similar demands. The most forewarned abandoned the rallies painted with red flags transforming them into red abstract compositions. Not only buildings, but also furniture turns to this new sinuous, pleasing, appealing form. Mollino turns the hard geometry of a table into an organic form, and Gio Ponti’s vision overlays Aschieri’s rationalism.Italy becomes the home of design after being the cradle of the arts. By taking to the interior what until then had been reserved for the exterior, Italian designers found a school, a unique and unmistakable style where the form lays down the law and points the way. These will be the roaring years of Salone del Mobile and the Compasso d’Oro award. The curve reigns supreme in the backs of chairs, in Riva motorboats, in Grand Prix Ferraris.Scarpa, like Mollino, fans the fire: Venini blows with the glass blowers in Murano and Scarpa is at his best. Blue, green, red phantoms take shape in Murano, with such speed and skill, and in such quantity that in the course of fifty years glass will have run out of possibilities, will be worn out and formless, at the mercy of the last exploiters in search of the Phoenix, the golden fleece, the alchemy that turns into gold everything the chemist concocts.And who but artists have the power to turn everything they touch into gold?All right, this is why they chose this name for themselves, it has taken me a while but I finally got it: they may dissent, but we know it is just an attempt to hide the truth. These phantasms have found the Gold of Naples in Massimo’s archive, i.e. my archive. When they first came to see me, they were flabbergasted (I shouldn’t say it) by the variety of items in an archive that has grown dramatically over fifty years, dealing with unexpected themes. Design, fabrics, furniture, photography, artist books, invitations to exhibitions, posters…Each family curated by me personally, including correspondence with artists, galleries, museums, writers, musicians.This wealth of material, well-tended yet without a precise form, has aroused the interest of Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin, who decided to take great pains to give it -at long last- a form: a ghost form, a phantasm form, FORMA FANTASMA.

Massimo Minini



Archivo Massimo is the result of an invitation as unusual as it was exceptional: to develop a body of work by reacting freely to Massimo Minini’s private archive. Formafantasma has thus developed a work that conceives the archive as a stratified and complex deposit of memory.The practice of archiving is therefore seen as a tool for transforming one’s life and work experiences into material fragments that are tangible and consultable, and not subject to the passage of time.

The objects designed by Formafantasma are not conceived for a systematic reorganization of the archival material or to provide greater accessibility to Massimo Minini’s peculiar way of categorizing the documents he has collected over a lifetime; they are instead conceived asdevices that celebrate the archivist, in addition to that which is archived.

All the pieces refer to the personal and rigorous – yet also playful and intuitive – way in which Massimo Minini has collected and preserved diverse materials (invitations to exhibitions, publications, photographic material, correspondence with artists and much more) that tell the story of an extraordinary life and a pantagruelian curiosity.The objects, made with the ‘conservation materials’, stainless steel and glass, are composed along with surfaces in printed silk designed for the display of archival materials.
The documents, letters, photos, personal objects of Massimo Minini thus enter into dialogue with the monochrome print of the Ophrys apifera, preserved in the form of an herbarium.This flower, commonly called the bee orchid, is found in many European countries, in North Africa and in the Middle East, and is known for its evolutionary and survival strategies which have led it to simulate, in the center of its petals, the appearance of the reproductive organs of a bee, now extinct in most countries where the flower is endemic.The evolutionary purpose of this feature is to attract male insects which, by copulating with the flower, become involuntary participants in the distribution of the pollen.In this way the flower becomes the biological archive of a dissipating present, and, at the same time, of the inexhaustible ability to imagine oneself in constant transformation: today Ophyrs apifera reproduces in total solitude.
Archive Massimo is a reflection on the idea of memory, the resilience of the past and the practice of the collector and archiving as processes of intellectual self-pollination.Developing a way of thinking and an understanding of oneself and of the world through the practice of archiving are interpreted as one of the many forms of eroticism of the mind,s which is nothing more than the pleasure of indulging in one’s thoughts and in the generation of ideas starting from what exists and its categorization.The work, by relating human archiving systems to those of biology for preserving memory and the past, alludes to the universal desire to exist beyond time and in relation to the other-than-self, activating inventive survival strategies made of patience and Love.