The exhibition is the first edition of an exclusive collection of works specially created by contemporary artists with jeans offered by the partner Candiani Denim in the context of the wider GenovaJeans event, conceived by Manuela Arata: works generously donated to the City of Genoa at the invitation of the ArteJeans Association to underline the importance of this extraordinary, versatile fabric to its maritime city from which, over the centuries, it has spread all over the world, an excellence of Made in Italy and a laboratory of creativity and ingenuity.
Like the fabric at its heart, the artists involved in this project, the only of its kind in the world, are all Italian and internationally renown; as of the spring of 2020, when the ArteJeans project was born from the enlightened thought of Ursula Casamonti and Francesca Centurione Scotto the artists selected by the organising committee formed by Ilaria Bignotti, Luciano Caprile and Laura Garbarino, embraced jeans in their ateliers and transformed them into a pictorial, sculptural, but also participatory and relational works.
This is the case of the large site-specific installation Tréssa, created by Francesca Pasquali in collaboration with the Accademia Ligustica di Belle Arti di Genova and its Director Guido Fiorato. A workshop that involved a group of thirty students in the creation of thirty fourteen-meter lianas, obtained by knotting scraps of jeans and hung in the hall of the prestigious school. An event inaugurated last June 10 with a performance in which the Genoese were invited to tie the braids in Genoa’s Piazza De Ferrari.
Today, on display in the modern and industrial spaces of Metelino, the location proposed as the the seat of the future jeans museum, 36 works are on display, a grouping of those created in 2020 by the first group of the twenty-six Italian artists and those created by the 11 artists involved in 2021.
The artists are Alberto Biasi, Tomaso Binga, Henrik Blomqvist, Enzo Cacciola, Pierluigi Calignano, Letizia Cariello, Roberto Coda Zabetta, Maurizio Donzelli, Ulrich Egger, Giovanni Gaggia, Goldschmied & Chiari, Riccardo Guarneri, Emilio Isgrò, Ugo La Pietra, Marco Lodola and Giovanna Fra , Claudia Losi, Carolina Mazzolari, Ugo Nespolo, Giovanni Ozzola, Valentina Palazzari, Gioni David Parra, Francesca Pasquali, Gabriele Picco, Pino Pinelli, Fabrizio Plessi, Gianni Politi, Laura Renna, Marta Spagnoli; Vedovamazzei, Serena Vestrucci, Cesare Viel, and Gianfranco Zappettini: each, inspired by the jeans they received in their studios, has woven their own poetics into the blue textures of the jeans thus adding new stimuli and food for thought that unite to those offered by the aforementioned Tréssa by Pasquali.
If in Binga’s hands jeans become a writing table that claims autonomy from the paradigms of digital technologies, in Viel’s they become a reflection on the relationship between language and image and imagination; in the works of Cariello, Gaggia and Picco jeans become a laboratory that generates embroideries and networks of poetic tension between sky and earth, macro and micro-cosmos, identity and otherness; Losi and Berti, on the other hand, involve the community with participatory actions: the first in collaboration with the students of the Duchessa di Galliera Higher Secondary Education Institute, creating a flower garden that the hands of the young students have copiously nourished with their imagination while reflecting on the art of patching and on the meaning of this gesture of care and conservation; Berti asked the entire ArteJeans team to sign the work that portrays him, creating an ex voto that travelled throughout Italy. Egger and Palazzari have entrusted jeans with the role of a reflection scenario on the themes of work and memory, of the temporal and alchemical process of materials.
A polyphonic journey that ends, with serious irony, in the work of Vedovamazzei: a canvas that “winks” at the public and also invites them to have fun walking among the various works on a path of joyful identification in the great Italian culture that jeans perfectly represent and continue to stimulate.
Artejeans Association: promoters of the ArteJeans 2021 Exhibition
ArteJeans was founded by Ursula Casamonti (Tornabuoni Arte) and Francesca Centurione Scotto who created an association in London in 2019 and later in Florence in 2021. The association’s committee composed of Ilaria Bignotti, Luciano Caprile and Laura Garbarino, launched an important call to action aimed at involving Italian and international artists in the creation and donation of artworks on jeans canvas to the Municipality of Genoa. The ambitious project has the support of Barbara Grosso, the Councilor for Culture, as part of the larger GenovaJeans project, conceived by Manuela Arata, which aims to invite artists from all over the world to Genoa to create a collection on jeans canvas that will become a core of contemporary art for the future jeans museum. Likewise, ArteJeans is committed to promoting an international tour where a selection of the “jeans artists” will represent Genoa, the city where jeans were invented.