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  4. Caleidoscopica: the art of Olimpia Zagnoli
| Designbest editorial staff


olorful, pop, ironic and at times irreverent, in short “kaleidoscopic”, Olimpia Zagnoli is one of those designers and artists who immediately make an impression. It might be for her curious gaze which observes and captures you, or perhaps it is her curly hair and big round glasses which give off that vivacious and eclectic spirit of a true artist. This millennial born in 1984 is internationally recognized as one of the most interesting illustrators of her generation. She has carved out a space for herself and stands out with her polychromatic, soft, yet bright, bold, and quasi-boisterous style.

Indeed, her work is kaleidoscopic, just like the name of her exhibition at the Chiostri di San Pietro in Reggio Emilia, Caelidoscopica, which covers the last ten years of her career.

Caleidoscopica. The illustrated world of Olimpia Zagnoli, curated by Melania Gazzotti for the Fondazione Palazzo Magnani in collaboration with the city of Reggio Emilia, is an homage to the artist’s multicolored style in art, design and graphic design.

A highly expressive exhibition, it reveals the many sides of this artist through drawings, prints, neon, fabrics, sculptures and everyday objects interpreted by Olimpia with ease.

The daughter of a design photographer and painter, Olimpia has shown a natural aptitude for design since she was young. After her studies at the IED in Milan, she began her creative career, inspired by artists like Picasso, and quickly won over the publishing, fashion and communication worlds.

She has worked with The New York Times, Penguin, Apartamento Magazine, Taschen, Google, Apple, Fiat, Illy, Uniqlo, Barilla Swatch, Fendi, Dior, Prada, Marella, and Rayban. Plus, there is her work for children’s books and many other projects including music videos, interactive sculptures, international exhibitions and even the inclusive brand CLODOMIRO, the e-shop founded with her father where one can buy everyday objects with an erotic and playful touch.

Olimpia Zagnoli has a lot to say. In the 16th century spaces of the Chiostri di San Pietro unpublished sketches and drawings from her youth get alternated with more iconic images, like the poster for the New York MTA and cover designs for The New Yorker, in a combination created through “free association” or affinity in color, form and subject. Accompanying the exhibition, there is a large-format garden of sculptures created thanks to the contribution of the Marella fashion house. Plus, there is a catalogue published by Lazy Dog Press, who specializes in illustration and graphic design books. They wanted to include Olimpia’s story and style within the pages of a book.

Finally, there is an original project that involves the little ones in Capriole di pensieri, curated by Fondazione Palazzo Reggio Children,an open and creative dialogue between the young artist (who attended preschools in Reggio, her hometown) and children from the city’s schools.

Where: Chiostri di San Pietro, Via Emilia San Pietro 44c – Reggio Emilia, Italy
When: September 24, 2021 -January 16, 2022



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