Collections of Obsession. From corkscrews to Bob Dylan, Mercanteinfiera returns
Fiere di Parma
30 September- 8 October
(Parma, 18 September 2023) – Multipurpose, pocket-sized, lever-operated, and twist and pull. In the 18th century, corkscrews did not just uncork bottles but were also used – in their jewelled version – by women of the aristocracy to open perfume bottles sealed with cork stoppers. The long history of the corkscrew is the protagonist of the Mercanteinfiera collateral exhibition “In vino veritas: the infinite shapes of the corkscrew,” organized in collaboration with the Food Museums of Parma, scheduled at Fiere di Parma from 30 September 30 to 8 October.
This everyday object was first designed by Leonardo Da Vinci, who left us a series of sketches in the Codex Atlanticus (1482 – 1499). The origins of the corkscrew do in fact date back to the 16th century. According to one theory, it may have evolved from the spiral tool used by soldiers to remove lead balls stuck in the barrels of muzzle-loading rifles; another theory suggests that the precursor of the corkscrew was the auger used for barrels. The first patent in history dates to the end of the 18th century. Since then, there has been a succession of innovations and patents: the “butterfly” corkscrew made its first appearance in the early 19th century; the “champagne tap” corkscrew was patented in France in 1828, followed by the “double helix” corkscrew ten years later. The first Italian patent would have to wait until 1864. Then it was the turn of the “rack and pinion” and “worm gear” corkscrews and the “crank” corkscrews, reminiscent of mini coffee grinders; the one we are most familiar with, the “wing” corkscrew, dates to the end of the 19th century.
There are those who collect corkscrews and those who “collect” Bob Dylan, like Paolo Brillo, who with an obsession worthy of an entomologist, armed “only” with perseverance and a camera, has literally captured every moment of the great American songwriter’s concerts. The result is a fascinating and magnificent book, No Such Thing As Forever, featuring 250 photos that document 30 years of concerts, a selection of which can be seen at the Mercanteinfiera collateral exhibition “Paolo Brillo. Stolen Moments. Bob Dylan and Other Music Icons”, organized in collaboration with the Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea gallery in Milan.
“Stolen Moments” is the second of the three Mercanteinfiera collateral exhibitions at Mercanteinfiera, which this year also presents “Communicating fashion: gender imaginaries, 1960-1980. A journey through the CSAC archives.” The exhibition presents an exploration of the multiple interconnections between makeover culture, media, and gender studies, starting from the study of the original materials preserved in the Fashion Archives of the Visual Communication Research Centre and Archive in Parma. The exhibition itinerary addresses the transformation of the fashion system between the late 1960s and the 1980s. The latter decade was particularly significant in terms of establishing the value of multidisciplinarity in fashion research, both for analyzing the present and for providing historical context.
As always, antiquities, historical design, modern antiques and vintage collectibles are the true soul of Mercanteinfiera, an exhibition for memory hunters.
Visitors will find on display modern antiques, the series of objects that seem to have been abandoned by the flow of life, such as dolls from the early 1900s and evocative musical photo albums. There is also auteur design – namely, furniture and home furnishings from the period from the later post-war years to the 1980s – by designers who are globally recognized as “masters”: Gio Ponti, Gaetano Pesce, Franco Albini, Joe Colombo and Vico Magistretti, just to mention a few. The exhibition spans the history of art, five centuries of styles and tastes (Baroque, Neoclassical, Art Deco, just to name a few) and as always includes archaeology, thus transforming the Fiere di Parma event into the homeland of cross collecting: an eclectic form of collecting that eschews classifications in favour of a novel and daring juxtaposition of artworks and objects. Finally, on display in the four pavilions of the exhibition visitors will find antique jewellery, the great names in collectible watches (Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe, Hublot), and the entire alluring arsenal of the elegant and sustainable vintage fashion that no woman would ever consider superfluous.