Unveiling the Second illy sustainArt Collection dedicated to Expo 2015

The new illy sustainArt Collection features creations by artists from coffee-producing countries Colombia, El Salvador, Ethiopia and Brazil

Trieste, 07 July 2015
illycaffè, the Official Coffee Partner of Expo Milano 2015, presents the second illy sustainArt Collection, a collection of coffee cups decorated by artists from coffee-producing countries and dedicated to Expo.

After the success of the initial collection unveiled in June 2014, the illy sustainArt project’s curators have selected another four young artists from Colombia, El Salvador, Ethiopia and Brazil to interpret the Expo Milano 2015 theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”.

illy conceived the sustainArt project in 2007 to extend its approach to sustainable growth to the international artistic community, and to help raise the profile of creative talents from emerging nations. The www.illysustainArt.org website is the core of the project. A window onto the contemporary art world, it has become a point of reference and venue for artists and curators to meet and engage in cultural exchange, offering a chance to showcase and raise the profile of works.

The new illy sustainArt Collection dedicated to Expo 2015 is a one-off event limited to the duration of the Expo, showcasing work by four young artists who, inspired by the Expo’s themes, have interpreted the sensations, experiences and narratives associated with the world of coffee through the prism of their art and artistic approach.

The Artists and Their Works

This work grew out of an experimental process in which coffee was used as if it were ink, taking a cup of espresso coffee and turning it into an instrument of graphic design. Following this approach, the bottom of the cup is used like a coffee trademark stamp, becoming a tool for creating patterns of rings. The resulting graphic motif harks back to Islamic decoration, Mediterranean mosaics and pre-Colombian techniques, reminding us of the historical route taken by coffee from the Arab Peninsula to the Mediterranean coast and on to the Caribbean, Central and Southern America. Similarly, this approach offers an attempt to forge a relationship between the modern-day geographical routes taken by coffee and our everyday experience of this substance and its container.
Felipe Arturo is an artist and architect. Born in Bogotá in 1978, he graduated in architecture from the University of the Andes before doing a Masters in art at Columbia University in New York. His artistic practice draws elements from town planning, architecture and art, framing them in relationship with politics, history, geography and economics. Felipe Arturo is the recipient of the three-month illy SustainArt research residency at the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa during the summer of 2015.

There is an existential and poetic way of thinking that reflects narratives found in the marks that objects leave behind: stains on a table and light from an eclipse; the colour of coffee and space; a leaf as a way of tackling a cosmic landscape with the simplicity of an organic point of view. These stories also coincide with my own memories. Behind the eclipse lies the idea of leave-taking. The vein/tree left behind by the eclipse and the dates around the saucer are a signifier of an intimate memory. The whole is an agglomeration of encounters that one runs into in life, in which the sharing of, reflection on and stimulation of memory orbit around the things that have always been part of the human rite of coffee-drinking.
Ernesto Bautista was born in 1987 in Santa Ana, and lives and works in El Salvador. His work orbits and develops around the idea of the self and the other, forging an intimate look at our identity as individuals and as people. His art is conceived to reveal what makes our integration into an organism such as society possible. Loneliness, fear, loss, hope, death and distance characterize his work, along with the ephemeral and all that extends beyond the individual.

A thread runs through each button on the coffee cup and ends up lying on the saucer, along with the needle. The link between these two surfaces, the coffee cup and the saucer, reflects the affinity that may be triggered and shared by people who undertake the simple, shared act of drinking coffee. The colours are from the flag of Ethiopia, a nation with a long history of producing and consuming some of the world’s most fragrant coffees.
Wanja Kimani was born in Kenya in 1986. She grew up in the United Kingdom, where she studied Fine Art at the University of the Creative Arts in Canterbury. Her visual practice entwines narratives and visual storytelling, the idea of the home and displacement, memory and imagination. Her trans-media works encompass performance, installation, film, sound and text; they serve as a medium through which the artist and viewers are able to understand the past and frame the present.

I began this work by referencing an earlier work of mine, Fotocromaticos, in which I established a relationship between a black and white image and the colours we would expect to perceive in the colour version of that same image. For illy, I created a Fotocromaticos project based on a drawing by Carl Linnaeus, one of the first men to classify botanical species in accordance with scientific guidelines, and the inventor of modern-day scientific nomenclature. Combining an antique drawing of a coffee plant and the modern Pantone colour classification system, I wanted to turn the act of drinking a coffee into an experience that at the same time is both visual and chromatic.
Marcelo Moscheta was born in 1976 at Sao José do Rio Preto. He lives and works in Campinas, Brazil, where he attended the University of Campinas. In the guise of a traveller who observes the world much like a 19th-century Romantic poet or one of the great Arctic explorers, Moscheta makes installations, photographs and drawings that he conceives during his travels to far-flung places. Moscheta observes the landscape as a representational system through which man stakes out his own world. His principal modes of expression are drawings, prints, photographs and installations.

The illy SustainArt 2 collection is available at the following reference price points:

  • Espresso cups – pack of four: € 66,00
  • Cappuccino cups – pack of four: € 86,00

The new illy Art Collection may be purchased from premium illy bars, illypoints and at shop.illy.com

illy Art Collection
A quest for perfection and a passion for beautiful and skilfully crafted things inspired illy to magnify the sensorial pleasure of coffee by using art to also involve the eyes and the mind. This and an idea from Francesco Illy provided the genesis in 1992 for the illy Art Collections, the famous artist cups that transformed an everyday object into a blank canvas on which more than seventy internationally renowned and respected artists have plied their craft: from Michelangelo Pistoletto, Marina Abramović, Anish Kapoor, Daniel Buren, Robert Rauschenberg and Jeff Koons to Jan Fabre, James Rosenquist, Jannis Kounellis, Julian Shnabel, Louise Bourgeois and William Kentridge. Young artists are also involved in the project, such as Norma Jeane and Shizuka Yokomizo, for whom working with illy was a major opportunity for visibility and growth on the international art scene.

illycaffè was founded in Trieste in 1933; the company manufactures and markets a unique blend of 100% Arabica espresso coffee and is the leading brand in top quality coffee. illycaffè is the Official Coffee Partner of Expo 2015, creating and managing the content, exhibits and events centred on coffee in the common area of the Expo Coffee Cluster. Almost 7 million cups of illy coffee are consumed daily throughout the world. illy coffee is sold in more than 140 countries and is served in over 100,000 of the world’s finest restaurants and cafés. Espressamente illy, the Italian-style café franchise, currently operates through 230 outlets in 43 countries. The company also set up and runs the Coffee University with a view to fostering and spreading the culture of coffee; this centre of excellence provides comprehensive academic and hands-on training for coffee growers, baristas and fans covering every aspect of the product. The company has approximately 1,084 people on its global payroll, and in 2014 posted consolidated revenues of €391 million. illy purchases green coffee beans directly from growers of the highest quality Arabica, based on partnerships underpinned by the principles of sustainable development. Out of its Trieste headquarters the company encourages long-term partnerships with the world’s best growers in Brazil, Central America, India and Africa, sharing know-how and technology and paying higher than market compensation.