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Alumni & Exhibitions

"The Philosophy of the Roasted Chicken" by Lapo Binazzi Opens Thursday, October 24 in the SACI Gallery.

Lapo Binazzi/UFO
Radical Utopias, Palazzo Strozzi, 2017/2018

The Philosophy of the Roasted Chicken
Green Chicken

The Philosophy of the Roasted Chicken
Red Chicken

The Philosophy of the Roasted Chicken
Yellow Chicken

The Philosophy of the Roasted Chicken by Lapo Binazzi Opens Thursday, October 24 in the SACI Gallery. 

OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, October 24 at 6pm
ON VIEW: October 24 - December 7, 2019

The SACI Gallery is pleased to present The Philosophy of the Roasted Chicken, an exhibition of radical design objects by Lapo Binazzi that offers a glimpse into Binazzi’s lifelong work. One of the leading artists in the Radical Architecture movement in Italy, Binazzi is a co-founding member of the radical architecture collective UFO, founded in 1967.

Leading up to The Philosophy of the Roasted Chicken, SACI ceramics and sculpture students had the opportunity to work closely with Lapo Binazzi, and a series of lamp sculptures developed in this collaboration is featured in the exhibition. During the Spring, Summer, and Fall 2019 terms, SACI ceramics and sculpture students, guided by SACI instructors Lisa Nocentini and John Taylor, had the incredible opportunity to (re)invent one of Lapo Binazzi’s (UFO’s) radical design works: Chicken Circus Circulation, the roasted chicken design Lapo Binazzi (UFO) used in the first radical architecture happening and presented in Premio Masaccio in San Giovanni Valdarno on June 24 in 1968. During the radical architecture happening, roasted chickens were used as trade goods between the inhabitants of San Giovanni Valdarno and performers who portrayed aliens from Venus. 

This collaborative project at SACI consisted of producing three large ceramic sculptures in the form of roasted chickens in bright colors – green, red, and yellow – that were later transformed into radical design lamps and will act as a centerpiece in Lapo's upcoming exhibition. The three designer lamps are made of bases created by SACI students and unique lampshades produced in collaboration with Florentine artisans. 

The green chicken was transformed into an elegant designer lamp by adding a designer lamp shade Lapo Binazzi purchased in Venice, creating a contrast between a commonplace bird as the base and an elegant, elaborate lampshade. The red lamp with a shade in the form of a halo is dedicated to Saint Apollonia, inspired by a play on the word pollo (Italian for chicken) part of the name Sant'Apollonia, the saint protector of dental care. Lapo also uses a play on words for the yellow chicken by choosing to add a lampshade in a form of a bicorne, the army hat popular in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries and with which Napoleon was often depicted. The third roasted chicken sculpture is therefore titled Napoleon, named after the French emperor whose name phonetically includes the word pollo (chicken). Considering that the roasted chicken is the symbol of the ordinary masses and cowardliness in Western culture, this colorful, out of proportion figure contrasts the elegance of the bicorne hat, a symbol of military and political power.

Much of Lapo Binazzi’s work is similarly built on the literal visualization of word meanings, such as the famous Paramount Lamp/Sculpture produced for the first time by Lapo Binazzi/UFO in 1969, which revisits the famous film corporation’s logo literally. The lamp’s base is in the shape of a mountain that is protected by an umbrella, parasol, or parapioggia in Italian, as parare means “to protect from.” Together, the base and the lampshade create “Para-mount.”

Along with the roasted chickens and Paramount, the exhibition also includes other historically important pieces such as Coltello, a lamp in the form of a knife, Mezzaluna shaped as a crescent moon, neon light masks and flowers, documentation of Lapo’s artistic creations, and a special booklet designed with the help of SACI MA in Art History students to celebrate the collaboration.

Špela Zidar - SACI Gallery Coordinator

Learn more about the phases of the SACI students' collaboration with Lapo Binazzi.

Exhibition photos: Michaela Mau

Graphic design: Dania Menafra

Editing: Kathleen Buckley

View the brochure here.


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