Above are images from Olimpia Zagnoli’s 2018 exhibition Cuore di Panna at HVW8 Gallery in Los Angeles. She is currently showing her work, along with her talented family at Antonio Colombo Gallery in Milan, Italy. That exhibition, ZaLiZaZa. Inventario di famiglia will be on view until 11/19/23.
The press release from the gallery-
Galleria Antonio Colombo is pleased to present the exhibition ZaLiZaZa. Inventario di famiglia, curated by Francesca Pellicciari, featuring a group of artists belonging to the same family: the photographer Miro Zagnoli (Za), the artist Emi Ligabue (Li) and their two daughters: the illustrator Olimpia Zagnoli (Za), already connected with the gallery, and the costume designer Emilia Zagnoli (Za).
The members of ZaLiZaZa are a very modern family, but also one of days gone by: were they not engaged in making their own various artifacts, we could imagine them operating in a family workshop in the Renaissance or Baroque spirit, experimenting with new painting techniques, revolutionizing styles or using them as examples to make their own; creating majestic theatrical wings, garbed in their style which is simultaneously classic and eccentric.
After all, this image is not so far from what ZaLiZaZa are doing today, in the 21st century, each in his or her own field – contiguous and often overlapping ambits – constantly coming to grips with their own research and experimentation, relying on a shared language, a true family lexicon.
The exhibition pathway is an inventory of works of all kinds – drawings and photographs, wooden books, collages, object/sculptures, fabrics, screens and magic boxes – in an intense dialogue of correspondences, where the four voices alternate and take turns, without a chronological order; a dialogue accompanied by a selection of items (sketches, notes, postcards, family photos) that document a methodology, while at the same time emphasizing the constant presence of art in the private life of ZaLiZaZa.
Thus it is no coincidence that many subjects are similar in the work of ZaLiZaZa.
While for decades design has pervaded the still analog settings and photographs of Miro (Za), it is also a recurring theme in the works of Emi (Li), from the Cicognino of Albini to the life and work of Charlotte Perriand, or anonymous design found for sale online: “I have no taboos, no type of respect or norm.” Similar use of anonymous and unconventional materials is found in the “Souvenir” clothing series by Emilia (Za), made from touristy dishtowels with the map of Italy, just as certain archetypes return in the thousands of stripes traced by Olimpia (Za), always in pursuit of the perfect synthesis between the idea and its representation.
Beyond this, beyond design, mountains, figures, bodies, portraits, chiaroscuro effects, balconies, there is the continuing echo – in the various generations of ZaLiZaZa of what Matisse said one day to Picasso, as Emi (Li) reminds us: “In the end, Picasso, we don’t have to try to be so smart. You and I are alike: what we try to rediscover in art is the atmosphere of our First Communion.” To always observe the world with the eyes of children, with the gaze of ZaLiZaZa.
If Olimpia Zagnoli’s work looks familiar, she also designed The New Yorker’s August 28th issue, seen below.