The Fondazione Ermanno Casoli is carrying out a new project with Bricocenter Italia srl aimed at fostering a constructive dialogue between art and industry. On Thursday 13 September at the company’s branch in Cinisello Balsamo, just outside Milan, the artist Ettore Favini will conduct a day-long workshop with ten members of the staff of the biggest chain of do-it-yourself shops in Italy, part of the Groupe Adeo. The initiative is organized by Marcello Smarrelli, artistic director of the foundation, and is conducted with the assistance of Giovanni Boano, a specialist in managerial training at the Hic et Nunc company.
The workshop with Ettore Favini is held as part of E-STRAORDINARIO, a training programme already tried out successfully in a range of industrial situations, devised by the Fondazione Ermanno Casoli with the aim of bringing contemporary art into the business world as a means of ethical and social development. The cooperation between the FEC and Bricocenter Italia srl, however, goes beyond the aspect of training and falls within a broader process already set in motion by the company. Given the name Visione, this programme is progressively involving everyone who works with the company in the task of imagining together how it ought to look in 2020, and then working every day on the realization of this long-term “corporate vision”.
As Sergio Lombardi, Vision project leader, explains: “Visione is a journey deep into the heart and soul of an organization, which the people who work with us both inside and outside the company make with a great sense of intellectual and emotional involvement. This journey – made up of experiences abroad and meetings with people who broaden our horizons – allows us to reveal the dream of a community of work on our own ideal future and to go on to realize it through concrete work projects. Working with an artist gives us the possibility of bringing together the dreams, emotions and hopes considered by the participants during Visione and communicating them through a work of art capable of representing the individual resources of each of them, which become a joint resource for the company.”
The research carried out by Ettore Favini, who uses a variety of techniques, ranging from photography to sculpture, is focused on themes linked to memory in the process of the organization of space and time, to history, to the landscape and to our relationship with the environment. His works always set out to make a connection with the public and with the context in which they are located. On the occasion of the workshop at Bricocenter, Favini will create a work, entitled Condividere è connettere (Sharing Is Connecting), in which the Visione project will be analysed through the experience of ten people who have taken part in it. Following the methodology of E-STRAORDINARIO, after an introduction to the artist’s poetics the workshop will move on to practical activity. The participants will be invited to share with one another a series of words representative of the way in which they have pictured the future prospects of the company. These terms will then be fed into a software program used for network analysis, where they will be isolated from the context of their origin: each story will become a design, an abstraction that the members of the Bricocenter team will recognize as part of themselves and that, subsequently, they will have to reproduce with materials sold by the company. In this phase the whole process takes on shape and turns into a work. The individual contributions will be directed towards the attainment of a common objective, that of making materially visible the ideas and emotions emerging from the Visione process and the themes and reflections tackled during the work with the artist.
“If it is still possible to trace a link between the classical conception of the work of art and the contemporary one,” explains Marcello Smarrelli, “it can be identified in the philosophical thought, by its nature immaterial, that the work of art contains and makes tangible. Art, as a creator of metaphors, still constitutes an indispensable method of research and understanding today and, as such, represents one of the most effective and democratic tools of training, fostering cohesion and the setting in motion of processes aimed at innovation.”
All the phases of the workshop will be documented on a website created by Ettore Favini with the help of the ten participants. In addition the film director Anton Giulio Onofri will make a video on the project.
At the end of the day, Giovanni Boano will guide the participants in translating the metaphors of contemporary art into modes of behaviour useful in the context of the workplace.