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Maurizio Vetrugno’s Interview Opium Den #ArtissimaLive

3 November 2015 Journal News

VIP Lounge – “Opium Den”

In 2015 Artissima rethinks its VIP Lounge transforming it into an art installation. Opium Den, a project created and curated by Maurizio Vetrugno, is a space that is intimate and sumptuous, immersive and engaging.

The interweaving of themes and references in Opium Den draws on the history of Torino. The tapestries are derived from the Chinese-oriented and locally-made rooms of Villa della Regina – a magnificent hillside residence and tangible example of the taste for refined exoticism prevalent in the royal courts of Eighteenthcentury Europe. Opium Den is decorated with furniture from Sumatra and Java alongside flambé and craquelé porcelain, enamels on metal bodied wares, and monochrome and blue-and-white porcelain. Torino’s history is further invoked by the rugs designed by artist Scarlett Rouge, who takes an eclectic and sometimes surrealistic approach, overlapping real, imaginary, historical and iconographic references. The long balcony overlooking the Oval becomes a special stage: a collection of ancient art combined with the modernist flair of chairs, lights and tables. The contrast between ancient craftsmanship and the practice of appropriation art, between Piedmont Orientalism and the exoticism of Chinese enamelled works depicting the Arcadian scenes of Europe, forces the decorative dimension of space to converge and ultimately blend into one.

Opium Den is a sumptuous aesthetic experience, a visual essay, a ‘collection of collections’, an installation blending a narrative frame with conceptual elements. The concept of decoration is used against itself, transformed by multiple layers and then effaced by the superimposition of tapestries, furnishings and objects, like a tweed.
The project counts on the valuable collaboration of MAO Museo d’Arte Orientale di Torino, and Villa della Regina.

Every day one of the Ypsilon St’Art Itineraries will also allow the general public to enter the Opium Den.


Elena Bordignon

Artissima Digital
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