A Lá Morandi

I believe that nothing can be more abstract, more unreal, than what we actually see. We know that all we can see of the objective world, as human beings, never really exists as we see and understand it. Matter exists, of course, but has no intrinsic meaning of its own, such as the meanings that we attach to it. We can know only that a cup is a cup, that a tree is a tree.
— Giorgio morandi

"Surely for everyone, Giorgio Morandi means something." writes Philosopher and Critic Marco Senaldi, "As soon as we hear his name, our minds recall the famous still life paintings--so motionless, so silent, and touched by that inimitable, opaque light. If you mention 'Morandi', you immediately remember his bottles-like how mentioning 'Dali' brings to mind melting clocks or thinking of the colorful Marilyn when mentioning 'Warhol'. However, when we distance ourselves from those images we already have in our mind, and we deal with the actual works of art, then things change. Thousands of still life paintings by Morandi exist; while they are all similar, they are all irrefutably 'Morandian' and Morandi’s genius plays a sophisticated hide-and-seek game through which he showed parts of himself in each of the paintings, but he never entirely revealed himself in any of them."

Giorgio Morandi

Giorgio Morandi

For Italian designer Sonia Pedrazzini, Morandi’s masterful Still Lifes were only a starting point. More compelling than the paintings was the Painter’s meditative ability to find balance and harmony among objects. The intention of Pedrazzini’s 'Le Morandine' project is not only to pay tribute to the great master, but to invite us to do as Morandi, to be moved by the same chemistry of color and form, to experience the same deep interaction that he had with the everyday objects he painted. It’s a relationship rooted in the concept of rotation, movement, time dilation and interior luminosity.

The project Le Morandine has a long history: proposed in 1998 to the company COVO, it was considered too intellectual, it was only taken up again in 2009 when Sonia returned to the idea, firstly creating the graphic pattern and the collection of candles (chosen by the ADI DESIGN INDEX 2013) and in 2013, also the series of ceramic vases, officially presented at the Milan Furniture Show in 2014 in a special edition for Molteni&C.

Giorgio Morandi in his studio, Bologna 1953

Giorgio Morandi in his studio, Bologna 1953

Each candle of 'Le Morandine' series has an opaque and chalky look. They are individually handmade through a method of casting and they have an etched ''weave'' pattern, finished by hand which makes every candle unique. The series was displayed at the Zircumflex gallery in Berlin during the DMY 2011 and DEGNI DI NOTA/Design in Italy, curated by Gianmaria Sforza & Ali Filippini. For those who won't have the opportunity to visit Giorgio Morandi’s house on Via Fondazza 36 in Bologna, Italy, where the famous painter lived and worked from 1910 to 1964, you should definitely give Sonia Pedrazzini permission to bring some of his energy to your house and remind you of the waxy light of his painting.

For Senaldi, it is Morandi’s indefinable quality that heads us off in the right direction, In order to better understand Morandi’s works, we must analyze the process he followed to create them-which was of paramount importance in their creation. If we want to understand Morandi, we must visit his studio apartment at Via Fondazza, in Bologna. Only in this place, while looking at the tables he utilized and seeing the bottles which were the protagonists of his still life paintings, do we begin to understand the unbelievable project which kept him so active throughout his life. The surfaces of these tables, covered with tracing paper, are completely filled with pen and red or blue pencil marks. They are charts, roadmaps, paths, and labyrinths according to which the artist, in his daily experimentation, moved his bottles and other objects, varying from one composition to another, in an endless game of changing arrangements.

Morandi’s studio is littered with the artifacts of his genius and to experience Morandi’s studio is to familiarize ourselves with Morandi’s sightlines, become intimate with his vision.  Senaldi writes, Morandi is, without doubt, the last of the great Italian painters who respected tradition, since he felt he belonged to it; however, and this is even more surprising, Morandi is also a completely contemporary artist, whose art cannot be separated from the process through which it was obtained. Every choice to rotate a bottle, to place a glass in an arrangement’s foreground underlines his singularity as visual composer.

This inquiry into Morandi’s relationship to composition is at the core meaning of the conceptual design work by Sonia Pedrazzini, equal parts game, hobby, pedagogical tool, artistic creation, décor, and design for your mind. In the physical shape of wax candles invite us to become like the artist in his world, which is both commonplace and far reaching. We set them on them with intention on the mantle, or casually on a wooden table, we may want to move them around to find the perfect arrangement, which will remain unaltered as long as you wish. Or we may, every morning change their positioning, either slightly or drastically, looking for a better set-up, seeking a more harmonious worldview. We may place them on the guiding diagram that comes folded in the box, the design obtained from Morandi’s very own. Our gaze can rest on these shapes, renditions faithfully inspired by those we see captured in Morandi’s subtle masterpieces.

sophie sagar