UGO LA PIETRA & CLAIRE LINDNER
Salone del Mobile 2022

Opening: Tuesday June 7th 2022 @7pm

Ugo La Pietra and Claire Lindner are brought together in this original project, conceived by the Maab Gallery with the Bernini Gallery for the week of the Salone del Mobile 2022 in Milan.

Because the line marking the boundary between art and design has always been a fine one, we may very well say that it was this affinity that brought about an exhibition that is both dynamic and rigorous in character. Artists and designers are without a doubt the most accurate observers of their time, and with lines and colours they shed light on the crucial aspects of a certain period. Thus, Ugo La Pietra and Claire Lindner face one another in an unprecedented project. Here we may interestingly observe timeless shapes – Ugo La Pietra’s – and present forms – Clair Lindner’s – living together in harmony and accord. Function and aesthetic perception are engaged in a spontaneous dialogue, leading to new reflections.

Ugo La Pietra is presented here with three historic pieces: Flabello (1986), Pretenziosa (1984), and Flessuosa (also 1984). In the main hall you will find Flabello, a set of pink chairs immediately exhibiting its departure from a linear structure, which is contrasted by the profile of the interconnected elements. Flabello is the lead figure occupying the centre of the scene, its design allowing for the creation of a dynamic, eminently unique sitting room. The padded chairs are combined with a “concealed” side-table (that when pulled out can be connected to the other elements, both the central and the lateral), coming together to create a semi-circular, modular sofa. Furthermore, the elaborate workmanship of the supporting structure with its shiny copper finish, juxtaposed to the padding of the seat, adds a note of colour, emphasising the intrinsic value of this designer piece. Completing the idea of a sitting room is Flabello’s companion: Pretenziosa. With its metallic sheen, this coffee-table, designed as if it were a sculpture or a piece of jewellery, brings a touch of light into the room. More specifically, this is a coffee table with a transparent crystal surface, an extractable metal-sheet drawer with a shiny copper finish, and the main structure in polished long-grain chestnut wood. Extruded aluminium slides with a shiny copper finish further enhance its elegance.

Placed in the second hall, Flessuosa is a chair with an intellectual shape, finished with original details that break with the mould in perfect keeping with Ugo la Pietra’s artistic impertinence. This is a chair with a structure of solid wood, an interwoven elastic band bottom, and black, injection moulded PVC feet, upholstered in black and white leather. The seat is accompanied by a matching side table in shiny lacquered wood with a polyester base and a two-part polyurethane black and white varnish finish.

Both of Ugo La Pietra’s parlours – by definition spaces where one receives and entertains guests or holds meetings – are “framed” in geometrical structures made of coloured wood, enhancing and outlining the spaces with exclusive care. At the same time, the empty spaces enclosed by the lines of this construction make room for the soft ceramics created by Claire Lindner.

Claire Lindner’s multicoloured ceramic sculptures bring to life a world of imagination that sees nature as a complex but profoundly interconnected whole. Through constant allusions and concordances with real-life phenomena and biological forms, her work – always on the brink between familiarity and subversion – enacts the performance of life, full of desire and passion, of Eros and Thanatos. Her use of colour is also part of this rationale, as it accompanies the fluidity and sinuosity of the shapes in subtle chromatic transitions, its opaqueness and its porous consistency enhancing the natural appearance of these artefacts. Thus, they appear to question the gesturality of painting, the very subjectivity of the artist, and declare, instead, their provenance from the world of nature, with as little mediation as possible.

For this exhibition the French artist has created a series of sinuous, aerial wall sculptures that appear to be striving to break free from the weight of matter to hover in the air, with their fluid, serpentine shapes, beings of agitation and desire. In these ceramic creations we can thus perceive the will of an artist who is thoroughly involved in her work, using the matter she moulds to break free from herself and take on the shape of the air, of a gust of wind, or of water flowing swiftly through the rapids of a river. In fact, the artist’s own words in describing her work are: “A universe where everything is fused together: inside and outside, liquid and solid, mineral and animal, vegetable and human, as if they were all made of the same substance.” In the other series of works designed for her Milan exhibition, Claire Lindner was inspired by a shape that is not directly connected with nature, but is rather manufactured, an artistic activity: drapery. In Claire Lindner’s interpretation, this decorative element that has traversed the history of art from ancient times to present day is not employed in its function as an embellishing, accessory element but, following the precepts of Georges Didi-Huberman, the French philosopher and scholar in the field of aesthetics, it is considered instead a symbol, connected to the movement of life itself and to its changing, metamorphic nature, as well as a carrier of emotions and psychological connotations. Thus, in these works too, standing as they do at the confluence between the vegetable, the animal, the mineral, and the human, shapes and colours come to life, creating a joyous and fecund dance, at the same time eliciting a feeling of estrangement and suffused anxiety, of confusion and mystery.

This post is also available in: Italian