In 1961, Saul Steinberg created an extraordinary graffiti decoration of the atrium of the Palazzina Mayer in Milan, commissioned by Studio BBPR overseeing the renovation of the building. It was an important work that followed other similar projects the great draftsman and illustrator had undertaken in the United States over the previous decade.
When the work was completed, Steinberg asked Ugo Mulas to witness the work in its entirety and in detail. To help the photographer, the artist also wrote a short text explaining the iconography and the meaning of his work. It was a reflection on the labyrinth, starting with the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan, a city where Steinberg had lived before the war. In 1997, the building was renovated and the graffiti destroyed. All that remains of this splendid intervention are the photographs by Ugo Mulas, which document and interpret the work.
The exhibition, Ugo Mulas / Saul Steinberg’s Graffiti in Milan, curated by Archivio Ugo Mulas and Walter Guadagnini, is in CAMERA’s Project Room and recounts this event by reproducing the entire graffiti decoration to scale from Mulas’s photographs, in a precise reconstruction of the Palazzina Meyer space. A selection of some fifteen vintage photographs will allow us to delve into the work of these two great representatives of twentieth-century art, to appreciate Steinberg’s iconographic imagination and Mula’s poetic clarity.
The exhibition is accompanied by a volume published by Dario Cimorelli Editore and edited by Dario Borso, author of the critical text and research that made possible the reconstruction of this unique episode in Italian postwar culture. The text includes Mulas’ images and the typescript that Steinberg sent to the photographer.
The catalogue will soon be available.