Mela Morsicata – Studio65: Irony & Transgression

64 White Street

R & Company is pleased to announce Mela Morsicata (Bitten Apple) a solo exhibition of pioneering Italian Radical Design group Studio65 opening on the upper level of the gallery’s 64 White Street location. This is the first major overview of Studio65 in the United States and the exhibition draws together their most important early works. Presented for the first time at the gallery is a selection of rare and iconic designs, early prototypes and one of a kind works alongside archival drawings, photographs and ephemera that demonstrates the vision behind this influential group.

This exhibition is a continued exploration of the SuperDesign exhibition, film and book, a comprehensive overview of Italian Radical Design from 1965-1975. Since the 2017 debut at R & Company, the film and exhibition have been circulated internationally with numerous screenings and museum exhibitions around the world. Studio65 is a leading group in this movement whose instrumental designs continue to leave an important legacy today. In addition to the exhibition at R & Company, a selection of Studio65’s work will also be on view Spring 2020 at The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas as part of the exhibition Radical: Italian Design 1965–1985, The Dennis Freedman Collection.

Studio65 was founded by Franco Audrito at the age of twenty-three alongside members Roberta Garosci, Enzo Bertone, Paolo Morello, and Paolo Rondelli in Torino in 1965. The driving force behind the group was social and political and the work they created was a direct response to the cultural climate of Italy during the time. In the 2017 R & Company SuperDesign film by Maria Cristina Didero and director Francesca Molteni, Franco Audrito states, “We started a kind of architecture as demolition art, as a complaint of values, and we started this critical attitude in the faculty.” The group’s designs raised cultural awareness and challenged the world’s current perception of art and architecture. Through their use of iconic pop imagery, humor, and passion, Studio65 created utopian visions that merged dreams with reality while reflecting on the history of that specific era. Now, nearly sixty years since the group was founded, their designs are recognized around the world and shown frequently in popular magazines, fashion, tv, films and advertisements.

 “Studio65 produced some of the most iconic and widely known objects of the Radical Design period” states Evan Snyderman. “La Bocca, or Marilyn as the lip shaped sofa was known in the US and Capitello are synonymous with the Italian Radical Design movement. La Bocca, famously inspired by Salvador Dali’s Mae West painting of the 1930’s became a symbol of the ironic humor Studio65 is known for. At the same time, Capitello makes the unmistakable statement of the ruin of Italian society of the time and goes so far as to destroy the pillars of Classical architecture by turning the Italian column of power and history into a chair. To quote our late friend Jim Walrod, ‘In the United States they put Pop Art on the walls, where in Italy they put it on the floor and sat on it’.”