The Italian Style project is part of Italian Institute Culture – Hong Kong ongoing commitment to support and promote contemporary Italian art and design. The Institute, plays an important role in the diffusion of Italian culture by organizing concerts, exhibitions, screenings, readings and other cultural events and it also encourages cultural and scientific collaboration between Italy and Hong Kong / Macao.
Since his arrival in 2019, the Director of Italian Cultural Institute – Hong Kong Stefano Fossati has conducted an intensive campaign for the promotion of various aspects of Italian culture in the area: music, cinema, art, design.
This varied and multifaceted initiative, which has already generated a number of exhibitions and events regarding important figures of Italian culture, has now been grouped under the general title Italian Style.
Started from autumn 2020 the Institute launched a program to specifically support and promote Italian contemporary artists, starting with Elisa Sighicelli’s exhibition at Rossi&Rossi gallery (October-November 2020) and Valentina Loffredo ‘s one at Novalis Contemporary Art Design Gallery.
Design made in Hong Kong (2020-2021)
Later that year the Institute started a year long project called Design Made in Hong Kong that brought together two regions of the world, building parallelisms between their different design approaches and cultural backgrounds. The project culminated in an exhibition titled “Milan – Hong Kong design“, new forms and functions in parallel with Italian iconic works” (March-April 2021) in which three emerging Italian designers are dialoguing with a selection of pieces by Italian Masters from the 1970s to the 1990s, such as Alessandro Mendini, Ettore Sottsass, Gaetano Pesce, etc.
In March 2021 the Institute also supported Paola Pivi’s solo exhibition at Massimo De Carlo Gallery. Titled ‘Why not?’, the exhibition is the Italian artist’s first one in Hong Kong, nine years after her majestic solo show at Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai “Share, but it’s not fair.” The show presented one new and first-time seen body of work titled “Bear foot”, along with three iconic works by the Italian artist.
In May 2021 the project Italian Style materialized in an exhibition that took place inside Art Basel HK: ITALIANS a collective booth of 8 Italian galleries, a project by the Italian Cultural Institute in Hong Kong. Curated by Fabio Cavallucci, the exhibition was joined by eight of the most important Italian galleries: Alfonso Artiaco from Naples; Cardi Gallery from Milan; Galleria Continua with venues in San Gimignano, Beijing, Boissy-le-Châtel, Havana, Paris, Rome and São Paulo; MASSIMODECARLO with branches in Milan, Hong Kong, London and Paris; Galleria Maggiore g.a.m from Bologna; Galleria Franco Noero from Turin; Mazzoleni with locations in Turin and London; and Rossi & Rossi, with headquarters in Hong Kong and London.
In July 2021 Novalis Contemporary Art Design Gallery presented the exhibition Ettore Sottsass & Shiro Kuramata, curated by Seiko Mori/United Voice, and supported by the Italian Cultural Institute of Hong Kong and the Consulate-General of Japan in Hong Kong.
In autumn 2021 the Institute, in collaboration with Arkad Foundation, presented FUSION, a cultural project that aims to create a dialogue between different realities and artistic experiences. Through a call for participation, artists working in Tuscany, a beautiful region of Italy, and Hong Kong, are invited to co-create sculptural works using the two materials that tell the story of their territory: white Carrara marble from the Apuan Alps and wood from Hong Kong. The resulting sculptures have been on view in December 2021, half of them at vA! (Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre) and the others at Arkad Foundation gallery in Seravezza.
In the past months the Institute launched the third edition of Design Made in Hong Kong 2022: Memphis and the Post-Contemporary Object : a project commissioned by the Italian Cultural Institute – Hong Kong, in which Novalis Art Design provides concept and guidance to university students at the Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) to produce new furniture that shows a contemporary interpretation of the Memphis Group. The students’ projects will be shown alongside Memphis Group works at the 25 Years of Design exhibition, held at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from the 1st to the 3rd of September 2022.
Stefano Fossati – director of ICI – Hong Kong
Stefano Fossati (Turin, 1957), current director of Italian Cultural Institute – Hong Kong, studied Sanskrit, Pali and Arabic languages at Torino University, and graduated with a thesis on ancient Indian Aesthetics. After graduation, he worked for two years at the Cesmeo (the International Institute for Advanced Asian Studies) where he studied Hindi language and has spent three months in India (mainly in Benares) for research. From 1996 to 2001 he worked as an assistant language teacher (in Italian “Lettore MAE) at Delhi University.
In 2001 he became cultural attache’ at the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and in 2003 was posted to the Italian Cultural Institute in Tokyo, where his main responsibility was the organisation of the courses of Italian language and culture. He then was appointed as director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Melbourne (2008-2013), Osaka (2014-2019) and from 2019 he oversees the one in Hong Kong.