Make the theme of this year’s exhibition a part of your daily life with the new illy Art Collection.
Each artist selected by curator Cecilia Alemani has transformed the iconic illy espresso cup to reveal a window onto their imaginations.
“I like to imagine that anyone who picks up one of these cups will feel the artist’s presence like an invisible travel companion, building an intimate and highly personal relationship with each of these visionary minds day by day.”
1987, Guanajuato, Mexico. Lives in New York City, USA.
For this cup, the artist has referenced his own work Después de todo, solo estamos aquí una vez (2021), part of a series of pieces inspired by the legend of Drexciya. They invite reflection upon the many lives that have perished through forced migration, imagining those same individuals still thriving in different forms. They also seek an answer to the questions that the artist grapples with, such as: “Will we ever find a home in this place, or will we always be exiles from the only homes we’ve ever known?”
Artist portrait credits: Rafael Martinez
1988, Cortona, Italy. Lives in Cortona, Italy, and Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
To pay homage to the origins of coffee, which is such a fixture in our daily lives, the artist has used poetic images with links to the countryside on her cup. These allude to the theme of growing, and to that of a cycle that ends so another can begin. Through a number of photographs on the surface of the plate, an image emerges which suggests movement and dynamism, while the dark and somewhat mirror-like enamel on the cup reflects an echo of the image beneath.
Artist portrait credits: Giovanni Salvi
1993, London, UK. Lives in New York City, USA.
This cup celebrates the miraculous essence of everyday rituals and the natural world around us.
Angelic creatures in the form of flowers move through the clouds, looking upwards with their great, cartoon-like eyes and bursting into flame beneath the gaze of those studying the cup before sipping their coffee.
A verse of the artist’s poetry hangs in the sky, each word gently lifted by the breeze..
Artist picture credits: Joana Luz
1982, Bucharest, Romania. Lives in Bucharest, Romania.
With this cup, the artist invites us to remember the shared origins of all living beings through a plant-human hybrid: a series of fingerprints transform into leaves and vice versa, also creating a tactile sensation. When the cup is used, the real hand holding it lines up with the leaf-prints underneath, in a playful form of layering.
Artist portrait credits: Andrei Dinu
1980, Kanagawa, Japan. Lives in New York City, USA.
This artist once dug a 7-foot hole in a cement pavement. By jumping up and down on a home-made trampoline at the bottom of the hole, her body disappeared and reappeared over and over, crossing the line that separates the living from the dead. As she jumped, she recited: "People with high elasticity get lost in life. People with low elasticity get bored in life. How elastic are you?" As she pours and sips an espresso into and out of this cup, the artist asks herself: "How adventurous will I be today?"
Artist portrait credits: Takehiro Iikawa
1948, Santiago, Chile. Lives in New York City, USA.
For this cup, the artist has used a detail from A fragment of Janis Joe, (Janis Joplin and Joe Cocker), an oil painting she did in 1971.
In this image, the artist flies completely nude towards her table of poetry, uplifted by the very poems that are about to be composed.
Artist portrait credits: Jael Valdivia
Cecilia Alemani, Curator of the 2022 Art Biennale, has many exhibitions of contemporary artists under her belt, is the director and chief curator of High Line Art, the public art programme on New York’s High Line, and has already served as Curator of the Italian Pavilion at the 2017 Art Biennale.
She describes The Milk of Dreams, the theme of the 59th International Art Exhibition, as a magical world where life is constantly re-envisioned through the prism of the imagination.
She invited artists who each use very different techniques to take part in the illy Art Collection commission, curious to see what fantastic metamorphoses they would come up with.
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