The theme

by Alfred de Locatelli
Docente di Modellistica all’Accademia di Brera a Milano

Symbol Furniture

The theme of “Symbol Furniture” aims to explore the structure of the symbol in all its vastness, from its origins to the present, in that it shares the dynamic of a changing language, which is modified and renewed over time. Symbols are necessary for us to grasp what would otherwise be impossible to represent, and thus reflect on it. They are found significantly in the past and in other cultures in forms that to us may appear strange. “It is important to emphasise that many traditional symbols can’t be explained in a single way, but have multiple meanings (thus the dragon is not always an evil enemy, and the heart does not always signify love)”. Symbols and symbolism are also concealed within – and constitute an integral part of – contemporary art. Design and the influences of reinterpretations which can take concrete form are also key, stripping design back to its barest essence, as is characteristic of much of present-day production. Symbols have many possible forms and meanings, as careful research will show. Exploring them will open up worlds both possible and impossible.

You will travel on seas that take you to unexpected lands, where those willing to look will find an abundance of ideas – perhaps too many. Choosing inevitably involves loss: making a choice will lead you to discover something about yourself. You might glimpse the power of visual language in history, like Dan Brown, or in a wardrobe you might find the idea of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, that life is like a chest of drawers where the drawers have no bottom, so that what is above falls onto the lowest one. When you look in that drawer, you won’t find a hoped-for neatness, but a clouded and confused place where some things from the past emerge and others disappear. A piece of furniture may become a door to other worlds, a wardrobe that leads you to being a hero or prince in Narnia, witness to an escape from reality. And you will be freed from a system involving little care and endless doubt. I hope you become better acquainted with Ulysses, Achaean hero, described by Dante as a symbol of the thirst for knowledge.