A family party taking an airing, Heath, William, 1819

A family party taking an airing, William Heath, 1819

© The Trustees of the British Museum

Taking an Airing

– Joy of communication

Gianluca Malgeri in collaboration with Arina Endo

The details of the project:

2020 AW Window Display

Client: Hermès Japon
Location: 25 stores all over Japan

The title of the project: "Taking an Airing" refers to a postcard in the British Museum, they both have similarities starting from an intrinsic ambiguity that allows diverse interpretations and readings.

We decided to work on the theme of the joy of communication; a sense of need encouraging others in the participation of sharing mental and even spiritual content. The radio, the antennas, and the propagation of radio waves play a fundamental role in the project. Each pair of windows is conceived as embracing a relational communication, where the energetic waves that constitute the background put the transmitter and the receiver in relation. In doing so we praise the means of communication, which constitute a remarkable support structure, particularly during the very difficult moment that we face today.

Another element we included in the project is the bicycle, anthropologist M. Augé reflected on the theme of the bicycle as an individual tool capable of developing the will to collective sharing. He claims that the bicycle takes us back to the use of our body inserted in the environment that surrounds us. The bicycle is an instrument against abstraction, revealing the relationship of space-time. Finally, it is a spontaneous experience of discovering oneself and others.

The products are immersed in joyful and surreal scenarios, the products come alive and perform pleasant activities such as singing karaoke, doing yoga, playing or listening to the radio, or flying among the stars; Taking an Airing invokes these activities. The windows of the 25 store all over Japan, maintain a subtle thread of ambiguity allowing the viewer to complete the visual picture through their imagination.

Collaboration between Gianluca Malgeri and Arina Endo

The original landmark of the collaboration between Gianluca Malgeri and Arina Endo coincided with the exhibition Edge of Chaos (Venice, 2015) curated by Vita Zaman.

Nevertheless, on a personal level, this result was the evolution of an unexpected intuition that Malgeri had in 2006 in Denmark, studying the nature and structure of a playground in Copenhagen. This intuition was then set back for several years, only to resurface in 2013 when the two artists took a six-month journey to India and got inspired by the playgrounds scattered around the gardens of New Delhi.

This attention led to an ample photographic documentation that was the starting point for a first series of collages that drafted the subsequent – and natural – shifting of the project to the third dimensions through sculpture and maquettes, directly related to the images assembled in the collages.

The evolution of the research led the artists to develop the project in Berlin, where the two resided, took shape out of a series of multi-layered observations of the city itself: Berlin is seen as a “Land of Toys” (a speculation about the world-famous child novel “Pinocchio”) and led the two to develop the body of work for the exhibition Homo Ludens at Magazzino (Rome, 2015-16), which marked the second stage of their collaboration.

Over the past three years 2017-2020, the artist carried out their research in Japan, enriching the photo archive which now includes almost all of Tokyo’s gardens and developing a further exhibition project Merry-Go-Round (Ayumi, Tokyo 2019). Whereas the first articulations of the project were related to more static and isolated structures, seen like impossible cities or islands, through the years the works have shifted progressively to a more combinatorial and communicative dimension, where the single items can be easily identified as organic elements of a whole world, bound together by its own means of communication and linking.