Magazzino Italian Art presents 'Formafantasma: Designing Nature'

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Magazzino Italian Art presents 'Formafantasma: Designing Nature'
Formafantasma, Reflector, 2016. Polished gilded brass, bronze, travertine, LED light. Courtesy the artists and Galleria Giustini / Stagetti, Rome.

GARRISON, NY.- Magazzino Italian Art announced its collaboration with Manitoga / The Russel Wright Design Center to present Formafantasma at Manitoga’s Dragon Rock: Designing Nature. The installation is now on view at the Design Center through November 14, 2022.

Always interested in the complex relationship between design and the natural world, Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin of the design duo Formafantasma present a selection of works in dialogue with Manitoga - the house, studio, and surrounding landscape of the renowned American designer Russel Wright (1904-1976). An iconic example of modernist architecture in the idyllic Hudson Valley region, "Dragon Rock" - Wright’s home and studio - is made of stone, wood and glass, and was conceived in dialogue with the landscape in which it was constructed.

Since founding the studio, Trimarchi and Farresin have developed a coherent body of work characterized by experimental material investigations and have explored issues such as the relationship between tradition and local culture, critical approaches to sustainability and the significance of objects as cultural conduits. This installation offered the chance to encounter Wright’s work outside of his mastery of industrial design, and they took a collaborative approach to their curation to ensure that the works on view engage in critical conversation with their surroundings. The selection of objects that will be on view at Dragon Rock, presented in harmony with the architecture of the space, focuses primarily on Formafantasma’s early works. In these pieces, the research of materials and preference for the organic, encounter - in both familiar and unexpected ways - Wright’s experimental attitude and his vision of architecture as an extension of the surrounding landscape.

This installation showcases the parallel nature of Formafantasma and Wright’s practices; each working intuitively with their surroundings in order to produce a seamless collaboration. However, for Trimarchi and Farresin, selecting work for the installation required the additional consideration of the many pre-existing narratives already in conversation at Manitoga; that of the house, of the landscape and of Wright’s personal practice. In the end, the curatorial process unearthed a fruitful recognition of architecture within their own work and allowed them to treat the house not merely as a gallery space, but rather to introduce the objects in a nuanced and seamless way. Though the duo has shown their work many times in the United States and has collaborated with museums on acquisitions, they are thrilled to be collaborating with Manitoga on their first site-specific installation in the country.

Andrea Trimarchi (1983) and Simone Farresin (1980) are Studio Formafantasma, an Italian design duo based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Their interest in product design developed on the IM master course at Design Academy Eindhoven, where they graduated in July 2009. Since then, Formafantasma has developed a coherent body of work characterized by experimental material investigations and explored issues such as the relationship between tradition and local culture, critical approaches to sustainability and the significance of objects as cultural conduits. In perceiving their role as a bridge between craft, industry, object and user, they are interested in forging links between their research-based practice and a wider design industry. Their work has been exhibited internationally in museums such as MoMA, New York, US; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, US; The Chicago Art Institute, Chicago, US; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, FR; Textiel Museum, Tilburg,NL; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL; MUDAC, Lausanne, CH; Mint Museum of Craft and Design, North Carolina, US; and the MAK Museum, Vienna, AT. In March 2011, Paola Antonelli of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and esteemed design critic Alice Rawsthorn listed their studio amongst a handful of practices that would shape the future of design.

Located in Garrison, New York, approximately one hour north of New York City, Manitoga is the former home, Dragon Rock, and 75-acre woodland landscape of American industrial designer Russel Wright (1904-1976). Manitoga is a National Historic Landmark and one of the few 20th century modern homes with original landscape open to the public. Manitoga/The Russel Wright Design Center stewards Manitoga as the embodiment of Wright's design philosophy and life's work and celebrates good design for living in creative harmony with nature through programs and events. In 2021, the Russel & Mary Wright Design Gallery opened to the public, offering a permanent onsite display of the Wrights’ groundbreaking designs for the American home.

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