Still Going On

So you say you’re interested in fabric. It’s everything and all.

Are We Still Going On?, Kaarina Kaikkonen‘s site specific installation at the Collezione Maramotti in Reggio Emilia, has been extended through October, then you should really go.

The former Max Mara factory is a landmark spot for people who grew up here. The first factory to employ so many women during the Sixties, all sporting dashing white overalls and chatting outside on the via Emilia during lunch break.

And back in the Eighties when we kids would ask for something expensive, parents would mock us like this: “Now who do you think you are? Maramotti’s daugther?”

And later, people started to say that in their huge gardens the Maramotti family was keeping domesticated emus. So a friend of mine once stood on the shoulder of another friend to peek over the fence but she got caught by someone inside and she kept going, pretending she was riding a horse.

Kaarina Kaikkonen says her works come alive and tell stories, of her, of people and places. I’m pretty sure she knew everything about our fashion landmark from the second she arrived there.

Personally, I like her work very much. I was so lucky to see pieces in display in Finland and in Italy, so I’m happy this installation is still on. I recommend it. There’s also the cutest making-of video to be watched. The artist is assisted by a team of Max Mara employees and they assemble the installation, in sock-clad feet, while outside it’s all snowy. We had a lot of snow last February so the outskirts of Reggio Emilia, seen from the huge windows of the former Max Mara factory, looked like the outskirts of Helsinki a bit.

I have to tell you that there are no actual emus in the gardens surrounding the former Max Mara factory, and the ladies in dashing white overalls are long gone. We kids are now adults, kind of, visiting contemporary art venues around the world. But in the gardens you can still spot a hare, or maybe a couple of pheasants. And inside you can see many many shirts, a boat full of shirts, a boat full of thrift memories.

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