By Anna Battista published on: http://irenebrination.typepad.com/irenebrination_notes_on_a/2017/04/from-foot-to-head-2017.html
It may be easy to spot a design piece in a window shop or in the streets during Milan Design Week, but visitors should remember that not everything is above the ground. Fashion fans with an interest in design should indeed direct their steps to the underground entrance of Viale Tunisia/Corso Buenos Aires and have a look at the display inside the Galleria Artepassante. Every year this underground art space is indeed joyfully occupied by “From Foot to Head”, an annual event celebrating the MA Fashion and Textile Design students at Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti Milano (NABA). Curated by by NABA lecturer (and former fashion designer) Cinzia Ruggeri, and Luca Belotti, academic assistant, the annual exhibition encourages students to leave a trace, a sign or a message inside a public space. This year Ruggeri and the other co-ordinators encouraged the students to go beyond their personality and meet their alter ego, constructing a new identity in four phases or stages focusing on footprints, shoes, garments and accessories. While students were given carte blanche in their choices of themes and inspirations, one basic rule remained – all the pieces had to be hand-made to rediscover maybe the importance of the craft aspect in a city that in the last few days has been suspended between traditional crafts and industrial creations. This explains the wide range of materials – going from natural ones like wool, jute or hemp (used for dresses and coats covered in three-dimensional elements), to artificial plastics in see-through colours or in garish shades, at times re-purposed maybe from a shower curtain. Some students actually tackled the theme of recycling, applying it to fabrics and textiles (maybe interpreting the footprint theme from an eco-friendly point of view), but also employed the slogan “No waste” to remind people not to waste their words and to think before they speak (or before they leave comments on social media and other assorted outlets…). Quite a few students seemed to tackle political themes: an ostrich hides its head in the underground floor; rope designs hint at simplicity, but also at constriction, imprisonment and suicide, while a dummy in a nude tulle dress covered in a pile of breasts lies on what may be an operating table, pointing at our collective obsession with beauty. Each student came up with a symbolic face mask for the installation and, while masks are the easiest option to change your identity, in this case they look like anti-pollution or rave masks. So maybe there is an extra layer of meaning in this year’s display: who knows, these young creative minds may be protecting themselves from the air polluted by all those dark forces threatening world peace and unity (NABA students come from all over the world after all), or maybe the masks represent ways to intoxicate themselves, like masked ravers lining their masks with Vicks VapoRub. In a nutshell, there’s food for thought here for all the passers-by willing to maybe miss their train and arrive a bit later to their final destination. Architecturally speaking the project remains interesting because Artepassante is a public space curated by a group of creatives linked with the art and culture worlds hoping to bring their message of beauty to all sorts of people, especially those ones who do not like museum environments.
Karvishi Anil Agarwal, Tugce Asik, Francesca Azzoni, Sherry Hemant Batra, Chiara Bernini, Emilio José Bonadio, Arianna Bonifazi, Francesca Bucciarelli, Elena Cedrone, Gaoming Chen, Annunziata Cirillo, Shreya Chhabra, Melisa Cilli, Zeenia Percy Dalal, Chiara Del Giudice, Hafiz Nouman Ali Fareed, Bao Fengxue, Cinzia Galia, Narjes Ghorbani, Mitsy Diana Giorgana Romero, Jessica Gridella, Muxin Han, Can Hei, Guo Huimei, Payal Kale, Niyati Khetwal, Hengrui Na, Ananthabartti Ramaswamy, Liuhui Ren, Al Khansa Shalilhah, Annabeth Van Rooijen, He Yan, Shun Qiyan, Liu Ren, Shuying Yang, Yan Yuan, Matilde Zani, Yujing Zhang.
Photos by Michele Temporin and Amin Zarif