Dialogue

Todavía creo que nuestro mejor diálogo ha sido el de las miradas.— Mario Benedetti

Pietro Fonasetti plate Objects of desire exhibition CaixaForum Barcelona

I spent some good hours at the Objects of desire exhibition at CaixaForum. It’s a captivating wanderlust in the universe of surrealism. One of my reasons to go was Fornasetti, I love his playful obession with a face he hadn’t even seen for real, so I thought to share this story, briefly.

Pietro Fonasetti plate Objects of desire exhibition CaixaForum Barcelona

Lina Cavalieri, enchanting fin-de-siecle opera singer, would later lead Italian artist Pietro Fornasetti on a lifelong creative voyage. He first painted the face of ‘the most beautiful woman in the world’ in 1952 — and never stopped. Although he never met her, Fornasetti’s artistic obsession turned into nearly 400 different interpretations, and thus begins the story of Tema e variazioni design collection.

If the collection of Fornasetti reminds me of anything, it’s that a single story can be told in infinite ways. And that a dialogue does not necessarily need words, and not even the physical presence of two people: it’s something that imagination can create, develop and maintain regardless time, space and age. It’s something that imagination can project and, looking at any of the postures of Lina Cavalieri that Fornasetti invented, I can easily visualize not only the dialogue he might have her with his icon, but also my own dialogues.

Pietro Fonasetti plate Objects of desire exhibition CaixaForum Barcelona

Fornasetti’s Theme and variations has had hundreds of transformations, re-imaginations and re-interpretations over the years. He adapted the face to be framed in a variety of surreal scenarios and situations. She has since been placed on dinnerware, chairs, hourglasses, cabinets, vases, or clothing — while winking, with her tongue sticking out, with a bee on her nose, or with mustache and sunglasses.


The Obejcts of desire exhibition explores the relationship between surrealism and design, displaying surrealist artworks and pieces of design from the last hundred years. It runs until September 25, 2020.

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