From City Life to Città Studi, from the Stock Exchange to Piazza Cadorna, down to the quieter streets, Milan is an explosion of colours, art and creative genius.
The most eclectic street in Milan is a real open-air art gallery, an itinerary in anti-minimalism, an amazing graphic itinerary. I'm talking about via Balzaretti, a quiet and somewhat secluded street in the Città Studi district which has become extremely popular thanks to a project by the magazine Toiletpaper.
The creators of the magazine, the artist Maurizio Cattelan and the photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari, have launched an interesting graphic project with the decoration of the facade of their headquarters: giant hands holding large red lipsticks stand out against a large blue wall . The experiment was so successful that it inspired the creators to expand the project, so that the other facades of via Balzaretti were also involved in this restyling plan and repainted with lively designs, intense colors and graphics with a strong visual impact.
If you would like to discover some particular installation or some treasure of contemporary art scattered among the streets of Milan, I would also recommend «L.O.V.E.» the famous "middle finger" (once again produced by the irreverent genius of Maurizio Cattelan) which stands in front of the Stock Exchange building. This sculpture, made of precious Carrara marble, standing eleven meters high, dominates Piazza Affari, in an irreverent gesture aimed at the world of finance, but also at the fascist-style architecture of Palazzo Mezzanotte, the building that houses the stock exchange.
Among the open-air works of art, very famous and certainly iconic, is «Needle, thread and knot», the work created by the spouses Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen and placed in Piazzale Cadorna, a crucial hub of Milanese transport. The gigantic sculpture stands out among the frantically passing cars and trams and appears divided into two parts, in fact it is composed of a thread threaded into the needle which is completed, a few meters further on, in the final knot. As if there were an imaginary underground connection, inside the Milanese subway, a symbol of a city that moves quickly.
There are many meanings attributed to this colorful installation, which recalls in particular the industriousness of the Milanese, with a reference to the fashion sector, in which the city stands out worldwide. Furthermore, if the thread evokes the Visconti snake present on the city's coat of arms, the three colors (red, green and yellow) refer to the three historic subway lines.
Among the most recent public art projects, I would also like to point out ArtLine Milano, a set of works located within the CityLife public park, the new district where the three extraordinary skyscrapers by architects Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind and Arata Isozaki stand. It is a path divided into over twenty permanent works by artists aged under 40, a spectacular itinerary in a completely renovated area. Among the most photographed works is certainly Coloris by Pascale Marthine Tayou: tall metal poles in pastel shades, surmounted by funny eggs, soar from a concrete base depicting the world map.
There are so many opportunities to stroll in Milan among works of art "on the road", just wear comfortable shoes and prepare your smartphone to immortalize masterpieces of public art. No queues, no ticket, only light and sky to frame us.