Milan becomes the center of the world in April. After the “aperitif” of the MiArt exhibition, the important moment of the year, the Fuorisalone, comes to the fore. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world. It is especially in moments such as this that we want our city to leave a good impression on its visitors, showing all its splendour to the world.
Please see also: Perché la primavera a Milano è la più bella del mondo
We seem to be in for a rude awakening instead. Please go to Porta Venezia and look at what has been done to its ancient toll houses. Please, free your mind from prejudice and ideology and just let your feelings, be they pleasure or horror, guide you.
Milan is one of the cities who made the Renaissance glorious, where people from all over the word come to learn about beauty. And what is our reaction to such feelings? We covered one of our works of urban art with an art exhibition, itself lacking in originality and deadening the aesthetic value of the place as a whole. Indeed, one might very well say that the message must be understood; covering in burlap cocoa sacks some Neoclassical tool houses is connected with the importance of migration, globalization and of the free circulation of goods and persons across boundaries and countries, and all that. This is very interesting, but can we be sure that someone looking one of our centuries-old works of beauty covered in burlap sacks will then be able to get the meaning the artist (or anybody else involved) wanted to offer?
Some time ago, we published this Facebook post and its feedback told us, amongst other things, that the majority of the people involved considered the nationality of he artist as an important element when evaluating a work of art. And therefore I wonder: what if the intended (or the perceived) meaning ends up to be completely different than intended? In other words, wouldn’t letting an artist from afar cover one of the beauties of our cities in burlap cocoa sacks be liable to trigger negative reactions, increasing the fanaticism against foreigners? This would be particularly true for those people lacking the cultural depth required to understand complex artistic messages. Perhaps, letting a foreign artist promote what many of its citizens consider an act of ugliness against Milan, may annoy the former, giving birth to further intolerance.
I personally believe that a really inclusive message would have involved asking one or more foreign artists to enhance our works of art and beauty, enriching them and our identity with their identity and diversity, while respecting our own. Such a message would be the one to be shared, through art as well, with everybody wishing to come and live in Milan. Ours is a city welcoming everyone respecting and improving our mindset with open arms.
Translated by Antonio Enrico Buonocore
Qui l’articolo in Italiano: Non solo è Brutto