Picnic Affair, a triannual boutique celebration of music, arts, and joie de vivre started as Jacopo Pizzicannella’s birthday party in 2019 with a small themed gathering in a Tuscan farmhouse and has since grown into a very well organised experimental event on the crossroads between music, design and fine art. This time Picnic Affair welcomed its regulars and many new faces to Lampo, a new space set in an abandoned industrial warehouse waiting to be demolished and rebuilt into a residential skyrise. Nasty’s own Maria Abramenko again curated the fine art programme, while the musical part was done by the British electronic music label Sentaku.
Inspired by the Warhol’s Factory, this time the theme and dress-code of the event was factory or construction work. As Catullus puts it:
“Leisure, Catullus, is mischievous to you:
You revel in and desire leisure too much:
Leisure has previously destroyed kings and
Hence, instead of leisurely partying, the working-class looking crowds started gathering in this post-industrial space to produce — but not surplus value — the Trans-Romantic Republic’s capital is to be rather based on pleasure and joy. Miloš Kosec assets:
“In a society that considers activity as a condition of productivity and freedom while dismissing passivity as unproductive, the very ability to downsize production or abstain altogether seems like a privilege of a minority.”
And privileged we felt. The carefully designed space hosting the masked crowds welcomed us with some amazing wine and cheese, and later cocktails — but more importantly, with perfect light design. The organisers invited Mandalaki studio to incorporate their Halo lights in the space. Mandalaki is a Product Design and Consulting studio founded in Milan in 2012 by Enrico De Lotto, George Kolliopoulos and Giovanni Senin. They explore the boundaries and intersections between design, art and technology with the aim of creating pieces of high quality and conceptual value, through an innovative approach that combines industrial processes and craftsmanship. In recent years the Mandalaki studio has mainly focused on extensive research around the nature and characteristics of lighting; thus the Halo project was born, the aim of which is to overcome the perception of light as an instrumental source of illumination, through the experimentation and production of precise graphic projections resulting in a new family of lamps capable of creating infinite nuances, sources of new energy in which to get lost. And got lost we did. The exhibition space was in a gallery above the main dancefloor, with big windows connecting the art to the party through visitors’ gazes and flirtatious exchanges of smiles. Abramenko invited Jonathan Vivacqua to present a series of commissioned canvases, some smaller ready-made sculptures and one site-specific installation questioning the concepts of labour, agency and post-industrial legacy in fine-art. The Milan-based artist’s practice is centred on the never ending quest for a vernacular harmony, basing his process on architecture, construction, and spatial studies. Vivacqua’s natural curiosity and willingness to experiment lead him to create a new wall-based body of work, while not disregarding his sculptural provenance. The space opened with a geometric-abstractionist assemblage of steel angle bars, a piece traditional for Vivacqua’s practice. The piece seemed endemic to the space it was set in, dancing in the last rays of the evening sun protruding from the large post-industrial windows. Next to it, a grey canvas stood on a wall, exhibiting similar shapes of shades and rays as the piece on the floor. Vivacqua explained, the piece was made by the sun itself, after the artist had left a canvas painted with crude oil on his porch for a few months.
Vivacqua’s newly commissioned canvases explored the idea of non-human agency in art work, using (giving agency to) industrial or natural processes to produce the artworks. The experimental series of six monochromes use industrial oils and enamels to react with the very basic naturally occurring but industrially used forces of time, gravity, light or temperature. The vernacular nature of the works clashes with the monumental aesthetics of the monochrome, creating a powerful divergence alluding to the relationship between the post-industrial and the hyper-capitalist. The artist according to Adorno has to be endowed with the capacity for passive activity — it is the indispensable condition for poiesis in Modernity. The convergence of otium and poiesis was the ideology of Warhol’s Superstars, partying on unimaginable amounts of amphetamines while creating everything from experimental porn to invaluable canvases. Pizzicanella’s Picnic Affair seems to be trying to achieve a similar effect of creative pleasure, even though in an absolutely different era, hence becoming an even more-needed holistic mind and body treatment.
“We believe in critical wellness.”Frankfurter Hauptschule
PicNic Affairs Returns Home
Artist: Jonathan Vivacqua/ @jonathanvivacqua
Art director: Elena Pelosi / @elenapelosi
Editor and curator: Maria Abramenko / @mariabramenko
Assistant: Alisia Marcacci / @miabrowe
Location: Lampo / @lampo.milano
Photography: Francesca Scandella / @scandysss