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Mercanteinfiera returns in March with stories of migration and Olivetti Design

Parma, Italy – From 12 to 20 March, Mercanteinfiera, the Parma-based exhibition of antiques, historic design and vintage collectibles, is back.
Antiques, design and vintage collecting are the trademarks of Mercanteinfiera: in 40 thousand square metres of exhibition space at Fiere di Parma, the entire history of art from the 1600s to the 1900s will be on show, encroaching on the world of rarities. Thus, next to an antique Cartel clock from 1800 signed by Antoine Thiout Paris, there will be a painting by Cesare Viazzi. And next to a stereoscopic viewer from the early 20th century for viewing postcards in three-dimensional format, you can admire a painting by Hermann Nitsch, the desecrating Austrian performance artist, or Luciano Lutring, the painter and criminal who in the 1960s was known as the “mitre soloist” because of his habit of hiding his weapons in the case of a vìolino, and who combined his career as an outlaw with that of an artist.

The four pavilions will host the great names in watchmaking (Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, IWC, etc.), vintage fashion and historic design: Gio Ponti, Colombo, Fornasetti, Arne Jacobsen, Riccardo Giovannetti and Gaetano Pesce.
As always, great attention is paid to the side exhibitions. For this spring 2022 edition, Mercanteinfiera turns its gaze to the 20th century with the exhibitions “Partivano i bastimenti. Home sweet home America” and “Olivetti #HistoryofInnovation”, which bring together stories of migration and the all-Italian genius of designer Adriano Olivetti.
They have the dimension of dreams in common, as Ilaria Dazzi, Exhibition Director of Mercanteinfiera, explains: “I was guided in my choice of exhibitions by two different objectives. On the one hand, to contribute to a common sense of civic memory because the stories of yesterday’s migrations are basically the same as those we see today, with the same fears, hopes and feelings. On the other, to shine a spotlight on a design genius – and not only one – who is never talked about enough and who was able to innovate Italian industry. Mercanteinfiera, without abdicating its vocation for business, has long wanted to be a place to train creativity, imagination but also reflection. We welcome art enthusiasts, but we are committed to ensuring that more aware citizens enter the gates”.

“Partivano i bastimenti. Home sweet home America” is curated by Massimo Cutò, a journalist and collector, and recounts the journey of Italian migrants who in the early 1900s embarked for America with the great companies – Navigazione Generale Italiana, Lloyd Italiano, Fabre Line, to name but a few.
The exhibition includes three sections: the phenomenon of emigration, the ships and the crossing. There are posters of the elegant, smoking ships that were sent monthly to the local curial offices and municipal offices advertising the new routes, and advertisements for Italian products that were already symbols of a pioneering “Made in Italy” concept; from the charming family photos framed between the two flags, a seal of integration in the New World, to the shoo-in stool, the humble destiny of many Italian macaroni (the popular term by which Italians were called). And then rosettes, the dreaded Ellis Island health cards that decreed the beginning or end of the dream, and the melancholic music for a now distant homeland.
“Olivetti #HistoryofInnovation” is organised in collaboration with the Associazione Archivio Storico Olivetti in Ivrea. The exhibition is divided into three stages – typewriters, calculating machines, PCs, printers and cash registers – and is intended as a reflection on the concept of design according to Adriano Olivetti: not just a powder to be put on top of the product to sell more, but a metaphor for responsibility towards the environment, people and the destiny of the product and society.
On display are the M40 and Lettera 22 models, the portable typewriter that has won over great journalists and writers from Indro Montanelli to Oriana Fallaci, from Enzo Biagi to Ernest Hemingway. Then there is the Olivetti Valentine, designed in 1968 by Ettore Sottsass and Perry A. King, the Divisumma 24 and 18, Summa 19 and Programma 101 calculators, considered by some computer historians to be the first real personal computer in history.

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