Stories, images, games
Faceted, fun and reflective.
A world in which childhood memories weave with fate and with life that spins and ploughs ahead.
A photographic exhibition with shots by Gabriele Basilico, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, Eliot Erwitt, Luigi Ghirri, Paolo Gioli and David Seymour, to mention a few.
A sensory journey: from the paintings of great 20th century artists - such as Balla and Campigli - to the colourful manifestos of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and through to precious antique toys and a curious contemporary installation.
Meander through the imaginative world of merry-go-rounds, revelling in their childish fun and grown-up challenges.
Between childish fun and challenges for adults
From 23 March to 30 June 2019
Come and visit us every day Monday through Friday from 9.30 to 19.00, and Saturdays, Sunday and holidays from 9.00 to 20.00
The fantastic world of the merry-go-round!The origin of the merry-go-round, or Giostra in Italian, is rooted in the ancient ritual games of peasant societies, transformed through time into our modern-day, hyper-technological attractions.
Together with circuses, puppet shows and the masks of the Italian Commedia dell’Arte, fun fairs derive from the popular travelling shows of yesteryear.
With the advent of the industrial revolution, the late 18th century saw a radical transformation in the traditional “fair”, until then a place of trade, but also of entertainment, street artists, soothsayers and acrobats. As positivism got into full swing, promoting scientific and technical progress, fairs started to change appearance and purpose, introducing an increasing use of technology to attract and engage their audiences.
The Universal Expositions of the late nineteenth century - established to launch an evolving economy based on machines - transformed fairs into veritable amusement parks, with mechanical games, see-saws and merry-go-rounds.
In the course of the twentieth century, these amusement parks become known as “Luna Parks” - named after an amusement park that opened in Coney Island in 1903 - and were soon completely mechanized and, later, computerised. And so, we come to the present day.
This exhibition uses photographs, paintings, graphics and toys to celebrate the instantaneous and timeless charm of the merry-go-round. Each piece offers a visual interpretation that, while fun and playful, activates that part of our memory that evokes our childhood, the passing of time, and a sense of destiny.
RemembranceNone of us can look at a merry-go-round without remembering. It is like an apparition: whether in an amusement park, on a suburban plot of land or in the middle of a pebbled city square, whether exposed to the sun or flooded by artificial night-time lighting, all at once it appears before our eyes, like a sudden memory.
With its colours, its music and its revolving model animals and vehicles, the merry-go-round has an extraordinary power of evocation. It needn’t call to mind a precise memory, moment or place. Often, it merely creates in us a “disposition towards remembrance”. A mysterious mechanism is set in motion, with the object of remembrance playing a twofold role: it evokes both our childhood and a sense of beauty.
TimeThe merry-go-round, along with other forms of travelling shows, pertains to the art world.
As in a game of Ring a Ring o' Roses, the merry-go-round revolves and takes us into an imaginary dimension in which life continues, always, with no beginning and no end. Everything turns in circles. Like the setting sun, which disappears, only to reappear exactly as it was. It is like being in another dimension, in a space that is simultaneously that of our childhood, that of a fantastical around-the-world trip, and that of the cosmos and the indescribable rotation of the planets. Welcome to the cyclical journey of time that eternally renews itself.
MachineSuspended between reality and illusion, the merry-go-round is a direct descendent of the see-saw and, before that, of the wheel. It is the only machine not to imitate a part of the human body, its circular shape recalling the sun and the moon.
This unusual machine causes movement to itself alone, and this is done through three types of constructions: swing rides, traditional carousels with horses, and those mimicking the waves of the sea. The first two have preserved their original features almost intact, while changes to the latter have largely given rise to the more recent concept of merry-go-round.