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Form Follows Meaning

September 16th, 2020 – January 15th, 2021

Espinasse31 Contemporary Gallery is pleased to present Form Follows Meaning—its first group exhibition that has opened to the public since the city of Milan went into lockdown in early March. Sculptural works by Olga Lomaka, Marcello Silvestre and Veronica Mar will be on show at the gallery’s temporary space in City Life. 


Standing as a beacon of modernity and a masterpiece of architecture, Zaha Hadid Residences create a particular context around the show. Form Follows Meaning (whose title is derived from ‘form follows function’, a main principle of design) has a strong focus on the forms derived from the intersection between art, design, and architecture. This weaves together the work of three artists that differ widely in terms of origin, culture, style, and medium.


The conceptual background of the exhibition also intends to celebrate Zaha Hadid’s legacy. Her introduction of revolutionary ideas to her own field, as well as to those of art and design, is encapsulated by one quote of hers in particular: “You don’t always have to show art in what’s called a white box. You can have a kind of complexity within an exhibit, which actually respects the art as well.” The identity of Espinasse31, reflected through its promotion of contemporary muralism and unorthodox presentations of art, is closely linked to this philosophy. The works of Lomaka, Silvestre and Mar integrate into the space in which they are presented, despite having a strong identity of their own. Form Follows Meaning is a dialogue of three different international artistic perspectives, all with one common message: no matter the artwork’s form, meaning prevails.


Olga Lomaka is a Russian contemporary artist based in London. Her remarkable personal style, situated within the realm of pop-art, is instantly recognizable by its interplay of appealing to consumerist culture and communicating symbolic messages. Lomaka has won international acclaim in recent years, having won Phillip’s Best Contemporary Artist of the Year in 2017; her work was selected to form part of the Royal Academy of Arts’ Summer Exhibition in 2018, curated by Grayson Perry. The artist often mixes traditional materials with modern media, and speaks to hidden dimensions of consciousness through a discourse of social concern. Two sculptures from her ‘Aliens’ series are on show at Espinasse31: “Screaming for Chanel” and “Screaming for Marijuana”. The fiberglass and chrome-painted works, reminiscent of a contemporary version of Munch’s icon, shed light on the flaws of today. In Lomaka’s words: “their eyes are broadcasting thoughts that modern society is obsessed with, [revealing] what their brains are occupied with: money, love, brands, drugs, technology.”


Marcello Silvestre is an Italian artist, designer, and architect; he uses his interdisciplinary knowledge and experience in order to achieve a holistic approach to his creative process. Among the many awards obtained by the artist, a must-mention is the Targa d’Oro, obtained at the Premio Arte 2018; this led him to exhibit his series ‘The invisible cities’ at the Palazzo Reale in Milan. Silvestre’s method is both poetic and scientific at the same time, using tools such as 3D printing to bring his works to life, and in this way exploring complex themes such as the relationship between body and soul, the concept of time, the oneiric world of modern urban landscapes, and human spirituality. Sculptures from his series ‘Man, Soul and Time’ are on show at Form Follows Meaning. Works such as ‘The Rust of Feelings’ or ‘The Waits’ depict subjects that are charged with emotion despite their anonymity and geometric abstraction. Their materials (3D print, rust finish PLA) are as crucial as their form—they both recall the passing of time. In Silvestre’s words: “They narrate complicated moments through their bodies, and not through their expressions or the eyes of their faceless figures.”


Veronica Mar is a Spanish artist and interior designer based in Madrid.  As a designer, she has collaborated with Rossana Orlandi of Milan and with the Wolfsonian Museum in Miami, among others. Her main body of work consists of delicate and abstract sculptures, with a style that is characterized by minimal and organic lines that subtly play with texture, color, and the ever-changing reflections caused by light. This balance of both the seen and the unseen is fundamental to Mar’s work, as the dualities and rhythms seen in nature and Taoist philosophy inspire her pieces. She purposely wants the work to feel like a physical expression of calligraphy: pure and light aestheticism through a minimal physical presence. This interaction is meant to create a space of personal reflection and tranquility, ultimately leading to a new awareness of the self within the natural world. Mar’s two pieces exhibited in the Zaha Hadid residences, (‘Unity Astra’ and ‘Unity Neeru’, stainless steel), evoke this sense of balance, with their smooth curves and sharp edges blending into the space’s architectural design.


For more information, images and prices, please contact:

Thomas Castiglioni, Gallery Manager:

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