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ArtMonte-Carlo: Riva’s unique world captured by the great photographers

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Riva boatyard, Sarnico
Riva boatyard, Sarnico

In collaboration with the Villa Croce Museum of Contemporary Art and the Monaco Boat Service, Officina Italiana Design is sharing the B&CxR art project once again with photography fans. The exhibition was first staged in 2010 to pay homage to a yard that is one of the great icons of Italian excellence

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Some of the most deep and intense images captured by the great photographers Mario Cresci and Gabriele Basilico as part of the B&CxR project will be once again be on public display during ArtMonte-Carlo, an event that takes place under the patronage of High Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco at the Grimaldi Forum between April 28 and 29.

The B&CxR collection is an art project created by Officina Italiana Design in 2010 to pay homage to the Bergamo yard as the design studio has penned Riva’s entire range for the last 25 years and also has a huge passion for art in all its forms. The images in the collection reveal the soul of the very special place where the prestige boats are built, the incredible work that goes into them and the dedication each one embodies, seen through the eyes of the photographers/artists.

Riva boats in the boatyard
Riva boats in the boatyard

“A year on from the passing of engineer Carlo Riva, we are delighted to once again be able to share a collection so close to our own hearts with the public,” declared Officina Italiana Design founders Sergio Beretta and Mauro Micheli. “It pays homage to Riva through our first great passion: art. B&CxR very much sums up 25 years of collaboration during which time our work has been almost invisible, just like the workers and people that for so many years have contributed to building this Italian legend. We believe that these images will find a place in the hearts of many boat and art enthusiasts just have they have done in ours.”

The B&CxR works thus make a welcome return to public viewing thanks to the good offices of Officina Italiana Design (owner of the collection) in partnership with the Villa Croce Museum of Contemporary Art and the Monaco Boat Service.

The Genoese museum’s stand will include a special space for Cresci and Basilico’s photographs curated by journalist, former editor of Rolling Stone and GQ magazines and curator at the Genoese museum, Carlo Antonelli, and Peep-Hole co-founder Anna Daneri who is co-curating the exhibition programme.

Thanks to the event’s partner, the Monaco Boat Service, visitors will also be able to complete their “tour of the Riva world” by calling to the special Riva Lounge at the Grimaldi Forum or taking part in any of the long list of side events organised by the Exclusive Riva Dealer in the waters off the Principality.

“These art photographs are incredibly emotive. They evoke my most vivid childhood memories: the scent of mahogany and the ‘bridge’, my father Carlo’s office which is suspended above the water,” said Lia Riva, owner of the Monaco Boat Service. “I would like to thank the Villa Croce Museum which is curating the exhibition and also Officina Italiana Design which had the sensitivity to reveal the true soul of places so dear to me through the keen gaze of two great photographers.”

Mauro Micheli, Lia Riva, Sergio Beretta
Mauro Micheli, Lia Riva, Sergio Beretta

The BCxR project, first shown at the Riva yard in Sarnico and then a slew of other events in 2010 as well as featuring in a special book published by 24 Ore Culture, spans 50 photographs by each of the two photographers (100 in total of various sizes, including 140x70 cm large formats and some limited edition prints). The two photographers were given free rein and produced very different takes on the subject. They whisked the wraps off these iconic Italian boats and revealed their true nature in powerful details and truly vivid and unique scenarios.

Gabriele Basilico (1944-2013) used his famous perspectives as a way of bringing order and balance to a faux chaos. His photographs have a deceptively silent, womb-like quality yet are also actually very much alive and real. These are incisive images filled with explosive energy in which people never appear but are still present through the result of their work.

Mario Cresci put colour back into details, sometimes soft and cocoon-like, others intense and abstract. This sensitive and poetic interpretation presents often-decontextualized forms and details that take on a new life and identity. It reveals the full expression and instant recognisability of the incredibly skilled, meticulous work of the yard’s craftsmen.

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