On May 2, Ermenegildo Zegna will host the “Fabulae Naturae” (“Tales of Nature”) at its headquarters as part of the Italian group’s contemporary art platform ZegnArt. Building on the Expo’s theme of food and arts, the Italian men’s wear brand teamed up with artists Lucy and Jorge Orta, who have explored this subject throughout their career. The artists were asked to develop a new act to their series of performances on art and food, named “70×7 The Meal,” which they have staged around the world since 1997.
The event “Fabulae Naturae — 70×7 The Meal, Act XXXVII” consists of an artistic performance directed by the Ortas and a food performance by Italian chef Davide Oldani, all overseen by Maria Luisa Frisa.
With scenes designed by the artists, Zegna’s Milan headquarters will be transformed into a forest, reminiscent of Oasi Zegna, the protected park in Trivero, Italy, through vinyl and decals that depict the floral patterns of Zegna Archive — Heberlein Fund, a vast textile collection of more than 2,200 volumes that the group acquired in 2011. Key to the setting will be the outline of a tree with a trunk as a path leading to Oldani’s food stations, while its branches metaphorically bridge the arts and food. The stations will be dedicated to specific food categories, including rice, bread, vegetables and cheese.
“Fabrics, food, nature and art are all combined in a unique circularity, in the Zegna galaxy,” said Ermenegildo Zegna image director and Fondazione Zegna president Anna Zegna. “I like to think of this project as the next step on a journey that began years ago, and where each time we take in consideration different elements of our world.”
A charity event will be held to support FAI, Fondo Ambiente Italiano, Italy’s nonprofit foundation to protect the country’s natural and artistic heritage, and its project of restoration of the Punta Mesco area, in the Liguria region, for agricultural recovery and redevelopment focusing on food produce and the development of biodiversity in the rural landscape. Work in the area will start on May 4.
For the occasion, the artists designed a set of 500 limited edition Royal Limoges plates inspired by the Zegna Archive — Heberlein Fund and featuring 10 different patterns, all including flowers and insects present in the Oasi Zegna.
The plate, which is priced at 250 euros, or $279.50 at current exchange rate, will be available for purchase during the event at the Zegna headquarters and online at FAI’s Website.
The Heberlein Fund is also the source of inspiration of another Zegna project during Expo: “Flower Landscapes. Fabrics. Flowers. Recipes,” an exhibition also curated by Frisa to be held at Casa Zegna in Trivero from May 16 to the end of Expo in October. In keeping with the exhibition, Zegna developed a book collecting a series of receipts based on the use of ingredients appearing in the prints of the Heberlein Fund’s fabrics.