NANDA VIGO. THE QUEEN OF LIGHT
Nanda Vigo, a light artist who collaborated with the greatest artists of the 60s and 70s, died in mid-May, leaving the mark of her strong personality. The last exhibition at Palazzo Reale in Milan was a late and in the same premonitory tribute to her greatness.
I remember a beautiful and lively blonde girl who, while I was looking at my first experiences as an editor, first in Ottagono and then in Vogue, in the second half of the 60s, turned the more traditional Milan upside down by bringing you with her teammates, Piero Manzoni, Lucio Fontana, Enrico Castellani, and the great Gio Ponti, the effervescent wind of the avant-garde. It was with Fiorucci, a pioneer of all new things, that I met her, with a mixture of awe and admiration. She was strong, ironic, combative, in years when women still struggled to emerge in environments considered male. Artist, designer, architect? Each qualification was reductive for her. I found her in Nanda Vigo Light Project, the beautiful exhibition at Palazzo Reale curated by Marco Meneguzzo (summer 2019), the first anthological retrospective finally dedicated to her in Italy, after more than four hundred exhibitions around the world. Those lights, poetic and rigorous magic, very close to the language of design in which she was simultaneously engaged, reminded us how forward and still and always current she was. As herself recalled in an interview for Elle Decor at the opening "It is an anthological exhibition based on decades: the 60's, 70's, 80's and 2000s. It’s a journey through all the more or less graphic evolutions of my work. The time had come, but don’t tell me that I have to thank someone, because this exhibition is something due and I claimed for it: they gave it to anyone, while to dedicate to me, authentic Milanese, an institutional exhibition they waited 65 years of work. It doesn’t surprise me: I have always had to work harder than others. Mine was a feminine journey, another trouble not to laugh about. Regardless of the idea we have today of the 60s, being a woman at the time was even more difficult than being a woman today." Without regret at the age of 83 she was still able to look further, concluding: "I hope to lead you very far, to the stars. Far but not far away: I want to go to the stars, which is where we come from, as if it were a primordial return to a fantastic world. However, it is not for me to define the mood of the journey, everyone is free to do it as he sees fit. I just guide it with a suitable means of going outside, no doubt on the Enterprise spaceship." Have a nice trip Nanda, we’re glad Milan honored you before you flew away.