Tutti a tavola! Everyone to the table! All five senses and conviviality
In honour of Eurocucina, the Saloni are holding a multimedia event, a story of the Italian style of conviviality through a mosaic of emotional and sensorial suggestions evoked by memories of famous Renaissance banquets, film sequences, paintings, literary passages, theatrical performances and famous names from the world of cooking, art and culture.
Held at Villa Reale and the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan, it was evocative and conjured up steaming dishes and imminent culinary bliss! It is a prelude to symphonies in aromas and tastes! It is the delicious imperative that leads into gratifying gastronomic rites.
“Everyone to the table!” is the magic musical synthesis of that particular atmosphere that distinguishes times of conviviality in our culture, from the Alps down to the islands, from ancient times to the modern day. Sitting together around a table, is a rite that is typical of the Italian way of life, recognised all over the world, in which it is not just the food that matters, but also and especially the way in which it is presented and everything it has the power to evoke when consumed in company.
The rooms in the two prestigious museums in Milan, the Villa Reale – now the Gallery of Modern Art, and the Pinacoteca di Brera, set the stage for an journey through the most significant examples of dining as an act of beauty and creativity. The former, once a noble residence, built as a home for Count Barbiano di Belgioioso and later the home of Napoleon Bonaparte, King of Italy, from whom it takes the name by which it is usually known – the Villa Reale, or Royal Villa. The latter – the most prestigious museum in Milan – has just celebrated its two hundredth year.
Without compromising the normal layout of the two institutions in any way, another path through the museums has been plotted, dialoguing with various works that stand out because of their specific reference to the themes of cooking and conviviality.
”Everyone to the table!”is an exhibition that should be leafed through, along the lines of a multi-sensorial album devoted to the rite of Italian conviviality as suggested by the arts of yesteryear and the creativity of artists and designers of today. Chef d’œuvres of Italian art “dialogue” with contemporary artists, from Ermanno Olmi to Robert Wilson, from Peter Greenaway to Vanessa Beecroft.
The act of sitting round a table as a gesture of solidarity is not forgotten, however, such as entering the refectory of the Opera di San Francesco per i Poveri, or as a means of training small children, as evinced by the Reggio Children Centre, an example of excellence in Italian educational practice. Passing through the Court of Honour in Villa Reale, close to an iconic Table Royale designed by the English architect David Kohn, the trail then leads down into the extremely user-friendly public underground spaces (no more than thirty visitors at a time), where the kitchens once were and which are now brought back to life by the scenographic skills of the artist Gianni Carluccio, inspired by the works of Vincenzo Campi and animated by the virtual presence of Roman cupbearers, and Milanese cooks, maids and major-domos with the faces and voices of Dario Fo and Adriana Asti, Maria Cassi and Eugenio de’ Giorgi.
Leaving behind the aromas of must and mouth-watering roasts in the kitchens, one then proceeds to the upper floors, bidden forward by the fresh, tantalising smells of tables laid for sumptuous melodramas, films, photographs – all celebrating the conviviality of the most intimate, family occasions right up to official receptions.