At Milan design week Marina Abramovich’s disturbing performance, with the kind help of Daniel Libeskind


We strongly believe that design and art are very different from each other, and they shouldn’t be mixed, even if in certain cases this may appear to be an easy move. Moreover, the recent history has proved that when designers, or also architects, act as if they were artists the results are most of the time mediocre. The same happens when the artist turns into a designer. Also collaborations between them are rarely a success.


Yesterday we had another evidence that our belief is right, while attending a Cosmit’s event hosted by the Università Statale degli Studi in Milan. The Cosmit, also known as Salone del Mobile, is the leader of the commercial furniture and design fairs, attracting every year more than 300.000 visitors from all over the world. The exhibition at the University, a charming former hospital projected by Filarete during the 15th century, is probably most visited public event during design week. But we wouldn’t have written about it if we hadn’t seen the most offending hybrid between an art performance and an ordinary piece of design.


The authors of this bad joke are a former good artist, Marina Abramovich, and a disputable architect such as Daniel Libeskind. “A group of student – says a celebrating caption – of the Intercontinental Dramaturgy Seminar, of the Specialization Course in Directing and Practice and Entertainment Culture of the Fine Arts Academy – the caption doesn’t specify which this flamboyant academy is, but we presume that they are talking about the Accademia di Brera – will take part in the performance created by Marina Abramovich, which consists in dividing and counting two different types of kernels. The action takes hours – continues the fundamental caption – and will be done using a special seat/station designed by Daniel Libeskind”. As you will notice from the pictures in our gallery, the performers wear a white gown with the initials of the artist.


Therefore, in a country like Italy, with the 35% of under-25 citizens unemployed and the 53% of under-25 with a temp job, we read the Ambramovich/Libeskind’s as following: poor student, you are not requested to think, or to improve your creativity, but to keep on doing this useless occupation, on this very uncomfortable bench, because we, the celebrated masters, are still owning your future. Your are a servant of our incredible power. You are here just to represent it in front of all the visitors of this extraordinary exhibition, to which we have been kindly invited to take part thanks to our connections, and wealthy commitments. Thanks Marina, thanks Daniel.


At this point please also do note that no single critic word will be published by the press against the Cosmit, because the furniture firms are their best clients of advertising and because, as it is known, Italy is still under a media dictatorship. Nobody will tell you that almost none of the leading companies, and the italian ones for sure, generally visit the Salone Satellite, where the supposed emerging designers are to be found. Who can name a designer who has been able to move from the Salone Satellite to one of these big companies?

July 18, 2015