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Cross – collecting at Mercanteinfiera: when art collecting sets itself no limits

Cross – collecting at Mercanteinfiera: when art collecting sets itself no limits

The armchair from Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut”, the book “Farewell to Arms” with autograph inscription by Ernst Hemingway to a mysterious count, Grand Master of a Masonic Lodge, as well as archaeology, antiques and signature design. Mercanteinfiera, an event that is an opportunity for eclectic cross-collecting, the trend of the moment, is back at Fiere di Parma from 2 to 10 October. Two collateral shows are scheduled for this 40th edition, one dedicated to the history of costume, featuring the necktie, and one to technology from the 1970s to the 2000s, featuring video games. To be admired and above all to be experienced.

(Parma, 27 September 2021) – A mix of styles and eras, memorabilia and rare pieces. Like the armchair used in Stanley Kubrick’s film “Eyes Wide Shut”, lent by the heirs of Count Augusti, Grand Master of a Masonic Lodge and owner of another precious object, the book “Farewell to Arms”, with a 1956 autograph inscription by Ernest Hemingway, whom he met during the war when he was a cavalry general. Also, about fifteen antique hourglasses – among which an outstanding 17th-century Italian one in ivory and ebony with black sand – 19th-century fencing masks and furniture ranging from antiques to Art Deco from the 1940s and Industrial Chic, signed by designers that include Osvaldo Borsani.

Participating in Mercanteinfiera, the event dedicated to antiques, historic design, modern antiques and vintage collectibles, which takes place from 2 to 10 October in four pavilions over an area of 40,000 square meters at Fiere di Parma, is a rare opportunity to see precious objects and works of art displayed by about 1,000 exhibitors. Visitors can also bring together works of art and objects from different eras and movements, in the perspective of cross-collecting (or cross-buying), the trend of the moment: an eclectic way of collecting which ignores classifications in favour of new, daring combinations of works and objects.

This practice has an ancient history and was particularly common in the Renaissance; today it is seen as a safer form of investment, as it is not restricted to a single historical period, subject to fashions.

The two subjects of the 2021 collateral shows, however, never go out of fashion:

“A man’s backbone. The history of the tie” tells the story of the mannish piece of attire par excellence through drawings, sketches, Jacquard paper patterns, cutting ties and 40 neckties (as many as the years of Mercanteinfiera). The necktie is far from being just masculine. The first female tie dates back to the age of King Louis XIV. The Sun King was one of the most enthusiastic followers of the necktie fashion, so much so that he created at court the role of “cravatier” (cravat maker), the person who every morning would tie impeccably the necktie that the King had chosen from a tray. But the King’s lover, Louise de la Vallière, also wore this accessory, which in a similar form continues to bear her name: the Lavallière tie. This item of clothing continues to be very stylish today: it has even been worn by Victoria, member of Måneskin, the band of the moment. The event is organized in collaboration with Paolo Aquilini, Director of the Como Silk Museum, Fondazione Setificio, Associazione ex Allievi Setificio, Confartigianato Como, Italian Association of Textile Designers and Confindustria Como.

The “Back to the games” show is not just for nerds. It tells the story of video games from the 1970s to the 2000s, and of the technology and social changes of those years, which first introduced us to consoles and computer screens. Organized in collaboration with the Video Game Archive of the Cineteca di Bologna and the Bologna Nerd Association, the exhibition allows visitors to play the video games of those years: Space Invaders with the Atari 2600, SuperMario with the Commodore 64, and PlayStation and Xbox video games.  On display will also be the rare Virtual Boy, a Nintendo flop at the end of the millennium because it was the “least portable” game console ever, today much sought after by enthusiasts.

Among the new initiatives of this edition is the collaboration with Museimpresa, as confirmed by Ilaria Dazzi, brand manager of Mercanteinfiera: «The presence of Museimpresa at Mercanteinfiera is a great opportunity to work with an association that perfectly represents the synthesis of our event. On the one hand, supporting the business of our exhibitors, making available to them an international network of about 10,000 buyers every year; on the other hand, the artistic aspect, the one that drives us to explore our history and our cultural tradition, to which private heritage makes a significant contribution. It will be wonderful if the companies belonging to the Association can continue to collaborate on Mercanteinfiera collateral shows, thus supporting us in this operation of cultural development in a broad sense».

A point of view shared by Antonio Calabrò President of Museimpresa. «The story of Italian companies and their protagonists is also made of objects, documents, images, photographs, and videos: a unique heritage, an expression of culture, creativity and know-how. Technical documents, employment records, iconographic materials, products and machinery preserved and enhanced in the archives and corporate museums are the material signs which document the extraordinary development of many Italian manufacturing companies from the last century to the present days, an expression of the companies’ ethical and aesthetic values and capacity for innovation, which from the past is transmitted to the present. The strength of Museimpresa is given by the local presence of many, more or less connected, businesses whose tradition of peerless production quality deserves to be preserved, enhanced and disseminated. »

This conversation also brings together local areas and their high-quality products in the round table of 2 October, at XX, in Sala Toscanini, Pav. 4, entitled: “Made in Italy excellence and restart of regional areas”, which features Parma, UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, and Como, 2021 Candidate for UNESCO Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art.

Representing the cities will be Councillor Livia Cioffi from Como and Councillor Cristiano Casa from Parma, Paolo Aquilini and Maurizio Moscatelli from the Como Silk Museum, Giancarlo Gonizzi, Director of the Parma Food Museums, Lucia Mantero from the historic company Mantero 1902, Nicola Bertinelli, President of the Parmigiano-Reggiano Consortium, Davide Gobetti from Confartigianato Como, and Chef Enrico Bergonzi from Parma Quality Restaurants.

Finally, a logistical change: the restoration area moves from Pav. 3 to Pav. 4, which changes name and becomes Cultural and Tourist Pavilion.


Antonella Maia
tel. 349.4757783


Date: from 2 to 10 October 2021
Location: Fiere di Parma, Viale delle Esposizioni 393a
Times: 10am to 7pm
Admission: 10 Euro (full price) 8 Euro (reduced price / architects)

12-19 October 2024 | 10.00 - 19.00
October 18th 2024 | 10:00 - 17:00 BUYERS:
10-11 October 2024 | 8.00 - 19.00

Online Ticket: €12
On site ticket: €15

Fiere di Parma
Viale delle Esposizioni, 393A
43126 Parma, Italia