Bendana | Pinel Art Contemporain is pleased to present Niccolò Montesi’s first solo exhibition “Mediolanum Urbe” at the gallery.
“the dark crossroads pierced
by four endless distances
in suburbs of silence”
Jorge Luis Borges
Lexicon of Corners in an Attempt at Exhaustion of “Mediolanum Urbe1”, another Milanese place2.
The Lexicon of Corners, are “pages”, are “shots”, are “pictures”, are “images”, are photographs, of “Mediolanum Urbe” that Niccolò Montesi, has identified, has discovered and, has instantly revealed, in clear portions of the city, thus becoming «another place», or the place of a new Milan, a Milan to know, to make Anthology of Tomorrow.
In fact, a futuristic Milan, a «city that rises», was still fatally and poetically revealed. It was still without an updated map, but now it has become the missing map, drawn in the same corners that define the new city: the Mediolanum Urbe NM3.
The Lido di Milano4, Assago, the Tangenziale Sud, the Fondazione Prada, Leocavallo, Porta Nuova, the Porta Romana station, the Fiordaliso Shopping Center, Corso Buenos Aires, have become the new “MILAN FERVOR5” : these areas near the center, are the new center of Milan, a center that has known the sky without seasons, the still light of metaphysics, “the silence of the suburbs”, the voice of the suburbs, the clutter of the ring road, the imposing presence of the buildings of non-places, commercial signs without name, conditioning the pictorial aspect of the architecture itself.
The Lexicon of Corners, shows not only the heart heard6, but the true DNA and, hidden of the city of Milan, a city that has the cartography of a modern architecture and, modernist, ultraist7, as that traced by Piero Bottoni, in his historic Guide Hoepli8, and now appears in this cycle of works, in its contemporaneity, a continuous reconstruction of the post-war period to today, or in the season of innovative architecture and, of the great architects and, decrees what is possible not to hide: it is, as if it had not yet been completed, and, every corner portrayed is the continuous proof of it.
Porthole windows like the eyes designed by Giò Ponti or Giovanni Muzio, brick walls in the great Lombardy tradition9, sequences of square openings like entrances to the sky, or unreal escape routes, slices in the reinforced concrete as if it were a mountain cheese toma, architecture suspended on upside-down cones, glass set in sequences of black frames, portions of balconies like protruding teeth of a profile, windows narrowed in vertical sequences as in a cinematographic reel, volumes interrupted only by virtuous, vexatious openings, interludes where abstract graphics are traced in the geometry of colored lines, or in the intersection of suspended colors as in Fausto Melotti’s triangle, impassable corridors, glass rectangles for macroscopic 3D visions, passages only for tightrope walkers, and wide walls like a XXL Superflat monochrome.
In this way Niccolò Montesi in Mediolanum Urbe does not disperse his city, but affirms it in its wider plain, consistently only in its corners and, discarded like sweets, the words of Luigi Ghirri10 : “Photography then becomes for me and for others the language to discover, know, represent, understand reality, without paralyzing aesthetic-formal obsessions, because no world is to be hidden or removed.”
And it is the will to understand and, represent this reality, where the only and, supreme vision of the angle, an angle measured from bottom to top and, which raises unexpected visual wisdom, catalogs a manual of orientation, which rests under the clouds, but the clouds this time no longer carry shadows, but the real palette in the Mediolanum Urbe.
Cinquale, March 2021
1 Mediolanum Urbe, is the Latin name for Milan, meaning. Locality in the middle of the plain.
2 The reference is explicitly directed to Georges Perec, and, to his complex project of Tentative Exhaustion of a Parisian Place, or rather his innovative experience of wanting to draw up a literary cartography of the city of Paris, realized in 1975.
3 By Niccolò Montesi.
4 The western area of Milan, designed in the Thirties, has had its fortune for decades with the pool and, the area equipped for sports.
5 The reference is direct to Jorge Luis Borges’ the first book, “Fervor de Buenos Aires”.
6 “Ascolto il tuo cuore o città (I listen to your heart or city)” is the book by Alberto Savinio, which Montesi kept in his pocket, like an introduction, a manual to accomplish his attempt to exhaust Mediolanum Urbe.
7 For the poetic attitude of the avant-garde poetry in Spanish language that evokes and, which made the architecture protagonist.
8 The historical anthology of modern buildings, the guide published by Domus in 1954.
9 That Visconti tradition that has marked both the civil and the sacred buildings and that Niccolò Montesi continues to find in the areas surrounding the center, in addition to its ambrosian Tower of Tancredi.
10 Luigi Ghirri, Un Paese, in “L’obbiettivo della visione”, Milano, Edizioni Henry Beyle, 2019, pag.18.