Laura Baldassari and Alberto Biagetti – together Atelier Biagetti – continue their analysis of contemporary society’s greatest obsessions with another immersive, experiential design project, the third of the so called Biagetti saga, curated by Maria Cristina Didero.
If Body Building (2015) examined power and beauty through the seemingly skin-deep subject of the human body and NO SEX (2016) addressed human psychology through the first basic element – sex, then the title of the 2017 project is a logical progression: GOD.
In this exclusive video, Maria Cristina Didero gives us an introduction to the weird and wonderful world of Laura Baldassari and Alberto Biagetti, in a bonkers shopping channel-style set-up complete with animated emojis.
G – O – D. Although insignificant on their own, together these three letters make up one of the most powerful words ever written, a word heavily laden with meaning and preconceptions.
But the GOD interpreted by Baldassari and Biagetti does not aim to fuel a theological debate, it rather investigates something that in today’s society is (or seems to be) all-consuming and all-powerful …
… something that is at the root of all our rules and aspirations and thus governs the way we live our lives: MONEY and with it the ever more abstract idea of value whether moral, actual or virtual.
“The theme for the show was almost inevitable – who isn’t preoccupied with money both in today’s society and throughout history?” said Alberto Biagetti and Laura Baldassari.
“Money itself, how to earn it, how to spend it, the daydream of what you can do with it – including, for many, how to show that you’ve got it – are some of the most time-consuming questions, and we wanted to address it in a very playful and irreverent way.”
This resulted in a series of themed objects and prize-orientated experiences, each of which is designed to provoke an emotional reaction from the visitors.
Blocks of gold stacked up on a structure called Euphoria, which is half shelving unit, half chandelier – a combination the studio says “links the earth to the heavens”.
The gold blocks are up for sale, but fluctuate in price according to the “stock exchange”.
To purchase a block, visitors first have to take a ticket from a machine that records the number of people wanting to partake in the gamble and alters the gold’s price on the stock exchange in relation to demand.
A table named Tornello, Italian for turnstile, features a chromed steel and brass base and is a reference to supermarket consumerism.
A giant ingot-shaped bench titled Lingotto is upholstered in gold leather.
Caveau wall lamp in opaque plexiglass with polished brass and ultra-white glass that looks like a glowing safe.
The space also includes a ceiling-mounted swing chair called The Island and a neon lamp.
“The idea is to provoke an emotional reaction connected to these elements,” said the studio. “The euphoria one feels when one wins a ‘grand-prize’, the power and freedom one feels through possession.”
Biagetti and Baldassari explore this subject by using their distinct visual language to create an installation, an all-encompassing microcosmos, a veritable temple to this 21st Century obsession. The environment they have created is a place where the rites and rituals associated with money and the value attributed to it are carried out on every level.
On entering this installation the visitor will be engulfed by the apparent omnipotence of money and will not watch but will experience the sensations and emotions that it evokes: awe, yearning, hope, euphoria.
Photography: Marco Zanella, Alessandro Zoboli and Giorgio Salimeni. Video graphics: Frank Studio Milano
About Atelier Biagetti
Alberto Biagetti and Laura Baldassari draw their inspiration from the world around them, from human behaviour and the collective memory. Through their characteristic method of decontextualizing visual elements, their work creates a short circuit between the senses of the body, the preconceptions of the mind and the physical reality of the surrounding environment.
Each project that the duo creates tells a story, comparable to a short film, but instead of watching a moving image the narrative develops between the mise en scène of their work and the personality of the viewer, thus recounting a different and intensely intimate story to each and every individual.
In 2015 they launched BODY BUILDING, a project, curated by Maria Cristina Didero, that attracted the attention of both the international media and public. Wallpaper Magazine dedicated the front cover of the May edition to the project with an image created by Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari. BODY BUILDING was also selected to feature in a solo show at Design Miami in December of that year and was followed in 2016 by NO SEX, the natural progression of Biagetti and Baldassari’s analysis of contemporary obsessions and human nature.
With Atelier Biagetti, their Milan-based practice, the duo operates in the fields of design, art and architecture creating objects, interiors and site-specific installations for galleries and private collectors across the world.
About Maria Cristina Didero
Maria Cristina Didero is an independent curator (for FENDI, atelier biagetti, nendo at design museum holon, michael young at grand hornu, fondazione bisazza director, miart curator, etc.) and freelance journalist (domus, AD, vogue, flesh art design, apartamento, PIN UP, sleek, neo 2, Flair, l’officiel italy + her own column on icon design and selections).