BLOOMING JAPAN – Flowers and gardens in Japanese photographies at the end of the XIX century

Milan, 29 Arts in Progress gallery, 9th of April – 22nd of May 2021

29 Arts in Progress gallery and the Museo delle Culture di Lugano (MUSEC) present a fine selection of photographies from the Ceschin Pilone Collection about Japanese flowers and gardens. The Western point of view about Japan was greatly influenced by these images, figuring out Japan as an always-blooming idillic country.

The exhibition also shows the Japanese perspective about flowers. In the local artistic tradition flowers become significant time-markers indicating the time flowing in a ciclic view of life linked to the concept of impermanence in Buddhism.…

Souvenir du Japon. Postcards from the Ceschin Pilone Collection. 1898-1960

Lugano, MUSEC, Villa Malpensata 1st of March – 5th of September 2021

The exhibition shows a selection of about 600 Japanese postcards from the Ceschin Pilone Collection made between 1898 and 1960s. The Collection of over 6000 artworks is one of the most important based in Europe. Japanese postcards describe modernity underlying the postcards themselves as a mobile objects, travelling an ever-growing smaller world. In particular Japanese postcards are beautifully made, mixing Western and local techniques, grafic and photographic art design.…

Kakemono. Five centuries of Japanese painting. The Perino Collection.

Lugano, MUSEC, Villa Malpensata, 17th of July 2020 – 11th of April 2021

Curated by Matthi Forrer, the exhibition shows five centuries of Japanese paintings (XVI – XX centuries) thanks to 87 kakemonos. They are precious paper or silk hand-painted rolls. The kachōga («bird-and-flower painting») section is embellished by six albums with lacquered covers from the «Ada Ceschin e Rosanna Pilone» Collection. In fact the typical Japanese style of kachōga on kakemonos is recalled on the album covers.…

Mirrors. The Reflected Self

Zurich, Rietberg Museum, 17 May – 22 September 2019

Three Japanese albums and two hand-painted albumen photographs by the end of XIX century are exhibited in Zurich at the Rietberg Museum for the temporary exhibition Mirros. The Reflected Self.…

The Metamorphosis of Nostalgia. Exoticism and Photography between Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Lugano, MUSEC, Villa Malpensata, 7 April 2019 – 23 February 2020

The exhibition opens a new space dedicated entirely to photography. The rooms are ground floor in Villa Malpensata and are dedicated to the famous ethnologist and photographer Fosco Maraini (1912-2004). Thanks to the main contribution of the Foundation’s collections, MUSEC’s interests in photography has now a unique space.

The exhibition will show about forty photographs. Among them a Japanese hand-colored album photo and a couple of beautifully lacquered inlayed albums owned by the Foundation.…

Once upon a time in Japan. 19th century photographs and netsuke

Milan, Poldi Pezzoli Museum , 11 May – 31 July 2017

The small but precious exhibition, which will be open from 11 May to 31 July, presents two different types of Japanese works of art, precisely, a selection of netsuke and okimonos from the Poldi Pezzoli Museum and some photographs, precisely albumen prints hand-coloured by period artists and collotype processed pictures. These items, which belong to the “Ada Ceschin and Rosanna Pilone” Foundation, Zurich, were granted for bailment to the Museum of Cultures, Lugano, in 2012.

Alongside a selection of netsuke (small traditional sculptures) from the Lanfranchi Collection, we find photographs provided by the Ada Ceschin and Rosanna Pilone Foundation. Produced by highly skilled Japanese craftsmen, they magnificently converse in terms of style and iconographic reproduction of the subjects portrayed. Produced in the Meiji period (1868-1912), they depict scenes of daily life and natural landscapes of an ancient and idyllic Japan that was brushed aside in a few decades by the frantic race towards modernisation.

In the Meiji period, Japan witnessed the unusual convergence of western photographic technique and masterly skills of local painters, the heirs of an ancient and refined tradition. The artistic outcome is surprisingly beautiful, and the subjects depicted look so real as to be compared with modern colour prints. These works were produced to meet the need of western travellers to take home a memento of an extraordinary country. Indeed, the photographs are mostly preserved in magnificent souvenir albums featuring lacquered covers inlaid with precious materials, two of which will be displayed at the exhibition.…