Alternative perspectives and humanist propositions define the intriguing world-building of the Milanese collective in their investigations of functionality, identity, and the mundane.
by Andrea Artemisio & Charlie Fox
An excerpt from Object Mythology by Andrea Artemisio & Charlie Fox featured in A Magazine No.23 Curated By Francesco Risso.
CATALOGUE OF A MOST IMPORTANT SALE BY AUCTION OF
The Splendid Rare Private Collection of Oddities and Treasures of
MR FRANCESCO RISSO
IN TWO SESSIONS
On SATURDAY morning at seven o’clock sharp and
on the following TUESDAY evening after sunset
in remembrance of the day of Marilyn Monroe’s birth
Catalogued by the Marni Studio
Descriptions by Charlie Fox
Photography by Andrea Artemisio
Installations by Davide Giglio
In order to assist bidders, Mrs Betty Risso will be glad to
advise them in regard to the value of any lot in this sale.
Marni Milano Auctioneers since the 1990s
SCRAPBOOK BELONGING TO WAN COUNTESS WHOSE BELOVED, PRINCE CASPER, DIED BY HIS OWN HAND IN 1826
This mammoth tome (bound with siren’s hair and cherub skin) collects the multicoloured and fairy-tale-addled passions of Christina of Rome, the depressive countess, in a form weirdly approximating a teenage girl’s Tumblr feed, circa 2012. Behold her hyperrealistic drawings of doped horses trapped on golden carousels (self-portraiture?), the jungles of stained-glass flowers shimmering like live butterflies, and the poetry stitched on a tear-soaked pillowcase about a sick Japanese knight dying in a field at dusk. Page 86 is still ghoulishly tattooed with the bloody kisses of the psychotic Prince Casper. The text on the last page (‘E adesso?’ or ‘What now?’) scribbled across the wings of a replica Dürer angel drawn by the princess signals her imminent death, caused by lovesickness and/or deliberate asphyxiation on her own blonde tresses in the family barn. A lock of the hair is pressed between the book’s covers in a perfect spiral, still soft.
This dress is cut from an emergency blanket won at an underground auction of medical equipment in the Bronx. (Given the heat-trapping properties of this sci-fi material, commonly used to soothe hypothermic patients fetched from wandering in the woods on winter nights, it’s not advisable to take MDMA in the dress.) The spoon painted on wood, a cryptic addition made at a later date, perhaps indicates that a previous owner was a junkie. Kristen Stewart wore a replica in an extra nightmare sequence deleted from the final cut of the movie Spencer (2021). The reasons for this attraction are obvious: the whole garment screams ‘deranged princess’ and in an alien language, combining a sylph-like classical silhouette and pirate’s booty jewellery with futuristic material suggestive of burn injuries, trauma (physical or mental) and car crashes. Any face seen in its surfaces will be distorted. It was referred to on-set as ‘the angel’.
HAND-PAINTED PICASSO SHIRT
‘Pablo was in unstoppable high spirits by the time he hit the beach, thrilled at how his pictures of a wizened Narcissus licking his reflection in a frozen river were progressing that afternoon. He insists we ingest a bunch of mushrooms and watch the sun go down… Nothing happened for ages: we watched the waves crash and retreat back from the shore like children too nervous to disturb a giant; we watched that over and over again until I knew all the curlicues of foam upon the waves. But then a satyr stepped out of the sea! He was furry, golden-hoofed and diamond-eyed with horns like some huge monstrous goat. I hoped this wicked trick from the mushrooms would be swept out to sea whereas Pablo leapt up at once, yelling and singing to the creature like an intoxicated sailor. He said they were old friends! The satyr had blown kisses to him from a Cadillac on the streets of New York; he had encouraged him to set a house on fire, deep in a Spanish forest. Strange sweat drooled over me, a madman in my own secret jungle, as I watched Pablo dance with this mischievous mascot. Later, he drew the creature on my shirt, grinning all the time, and paying special attention to the monster’s epic penis.’
Excerpt from The Bull is On Fire: My Adventures with Picasso by Stephen Swanlake
A pair of beautiful red shoes created from the flesh of elves in the 19th century. Supposedly, the occasional squeals produced by the shoes when the owner struts are the screams of the poor harvested creatures. The candy-apple red is from the hide being dunked in the sugary blood of werewolf cubs and tanned by European sunshine. The magpie combination of jewellery and shiny thread embellishing these beauties forecasts the cute urchin aesthetic which materialised upon punk’s death (e.g. Madonna in the video for ‘Lucky Star’). Pairs are routinely visible on the feet of pretty witches in fairy-tale woodcuts. Their influence on Dorothy’s red slippers — those other faves of shoe fetishists everywhere — would be extremely dumb to doubt. The soles are bubblegum pink, like a tiger’s tongue. Hunter Schafer owns a pair and so does Courtney Love.
If this psychedelic sweatshirt is turned inside out, all the colours reverse perfectly. It’s what’s known in the garment industry among high-level seamstresses as an ‘evil twin’. The Good Trip on the outside yields to the Bad Trip within. Supposedly their maker was inspired by watching stained-glass raindrops ooze down a windowpane while tripping on a spring afternoon. Wearers of this sweatshirt report ‘a fragile relationship to reality’.
Marlene Dietrich, in words and at the Palazzo Grassi
Portraits of the 20th century icon are featured within the pages of A Magazine Curated By Erdem, and form part of the Pinault Collection currently on display in CHRONORAMA. Photographic Treasures of the 20th Century.
Hylton Nel: This Plate Is What I Have To Say
On the occasion of the exhibition This plate is what I have to say at Charleston House, British artist Isaac Benigson details his longtime friendship and childhood memories with the South African ceramicist and A#19 Curated By Kim Jones contributor Hylton Nel.