Enrica Borghi installation opens in SACI’s Maidoff Gallery: September 8, 2016, 6:30pm

Enrica Borghi installation (aluminium chocolate wrappers)

Enrica Borghi installation (aluminium chocolate wrappers)

ENRICA BORGHI: Scent of an Artificial Paradise


Artist’s demonstration for SACI students only: September 8, 11:45AM-1:15PM


Curated by Laura Villani

Enrica Borghi creates her artworks by poetically transforming materials of common use, or more often materials in disuse intended to be discarded or recycled, products or waste materials that seem to have reached the full extent of their life cycle. These materials are picked up by Enrica Borghi, reinvented, and used to create an enchanted fantasy world.

For the exhibition in SACI’s Maidoff Gallery, Enrica Borghi creates an installation where nature is re-created through the artificial and ephemeral beauty of aluminum, the third element on the face of the earth, a material that can be recycled and given a second life.

The artist is fascinated by the idea of transforming the almost impalpably fragile thin aluminum wrappings used to enclose pieces of chocolate into the materials for artworks. The resultant brightly-colored micro-sculptures form fantastic arabesques whose effects are perfectly symmetrical and kaleidoscopic. These arabesques feature a bright and shiny surface of metallic foil in a palette of colors, suggestive, on the one hand, of gleaming supercar bodywork and, on the other, of those sweet “masterpieces” of the chocolates themselves. Each arabesque pays tribute to the many geometries of nature—from snowflake to water—wherever nature seems to take on mysterious and abstract forms.

Enrica Borghi installation (aluminium chocolate wrappers)The installation features an extraordinary rose cascade of thin aluminum foil, colored in a vibrant International Klein Blue (IKB) and generating thousands of metallic reflections. The cascade consists of a seemingly infinite number of roses, made from industrial waste and patiently collected in long garlands by the artist to create a personalized artwork founded upon her embrace of imperfection. Through a highly complex and lengthy process in which she employs alternative materials, Borghi creates refined, poetic artworks that have an amazing visual effect.

In her exhibition at SACI, she seeks to create a deliberate and subtly ambiguous interplay between nature and artifice that is rooted in the contrasts among the iridescent colors of the fragile and seductive aluminum foil, the geometric shapes of the arabesques, and the phytomorphic attributes of the roses with their imaginary fragrance. An artificial landscape is created in which scraps from everyday life, abandoned or recycled objects and packaging, are ennobled, given a new extraordinary life in which they become dresses for queens, statues of empresses, precious jewels ornamented by swirls of multicolored gems, or worlds made with colored palettes of plastic.

Enrica Borghi’s artworks are potent for their seductive and aesthetic impact, but also for their poetic and philosophical messages. In a disposable world in which avid consumers quickly reject all that is not perfect and new, whether object or person, and do not bother to repair broken things, Borghi accepts and celebrates imperfection. In a society where both people and things do not remain eternally young and beautiful, Borghi is careful to avoid contributing to the increasingly huge problem of waste disposition; instead she communicates a sense of the fragility of the Earth and the importance of protecting our beautiful blue planet.

Borghi intends to create beauty by construction of artworks that point to fresh sources of inspiration through the use of materials that surround us and almost seem to suffocate our cities and landscapes. Her works are not arrogantly built with expensive materials but are delicate structures that remind us of the transience of things—starting as if on tiptoe, they build dramatically, almost theatrically, in impact.

Enrica Borghi employs a process that fosters new ways of seeing by displacing our assumptions about what are waste materials and how they can be used. A structure that may appear heavy and made of metal, is on the contrary an ultralight object made of plastic scraps. Her works may evoke a glass window in a cathedral or resemble a precious jewel. They may be placed on walls or suspended in space, gracefully form enchanting compositions of multicolored butterflies or suggest the fragility and evanescence of a gorgeous rose. But through their displacing of traditional forms they serve an important reminder to the viewer: Do not disturb the environment!

This exhibition has been designed specifically for SACI by architect Laura Villani as a 360° dialogue with the artist, her world, her creativity, and her artistic history, themes, and techniques. Born in Italy, Laura Villani lives and works in Turin, Venice, Florence, Bologna, and New York City. She curates exhibitions in SACI’s two galleries in Florence with the aim of presenting the most creative individuals in the fields of art, design, fashion, photography, installation, and video by featuring a major work representative of each artist’s or designer’s creative world. Scent of an Artificial Paradise, with its theme of perfume, is intended as an extension of Pitti Immagine: Fragranze, a fair dedicated to the world of perfume.


Enrica Borghi, “La Regina,” Musée des Boeux Arts de Bordeaux, plastic bottles, plastic, bags, plexiglass, 500x800x400 cm, 1999 – 2006, ph. Enrica Borghi, private collection.


Enrica Borghi divides her time between Ameno Lake Orta (Novara) and Berlin. In 1990, she earned an MA degree in Sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in Milan. From 1998 to 2008, she participated in public art projects with Balls of Snow for the Turin exhibition Luci d’artista. In 2001, she created an installation in the city of Trieste at the St. Anthony Channel. From 2007 to 2009 in Salerno, she made an artistic intervention on an urban scale with the use of light, called Mosaic, and, in 2010, for the inauguration of the first event in Marseille Capital of Culture 2013, she again exhibited Balls of Snow. In 2008, she was selected for the “Planetary Collegium” PhD M-Node in collaboration with the University of Plymouth and the New Academy of Fine Arts in Milan. In 2005, she co-founded with David Vanotti and other artists, writers, philosophers, and architects, Asilo Bianco, a cultural center dedicated to the development of Ameno and the surrounding area through literature and the arts, of which she became President. Major solo exhibitions include: The Queen (1999), an installation at the Castello di Rivoli, Turin, and, in 2005, EB at the MAMAC, Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain de Nice, curated by Gilbert and Jean Marc Perlein Reol. Some of her works are exhibited permanently at MAMAC and the Museo MAGA in Gallarate, Italy.


Laura Villani holds a Laurea in Architecture from the Università degli Studi di Firenze and an M.Arch. from the University of Houston in Texas. She has given visiting lectures at a number of colleges and universities. For many years she has created international cultural initiatives by proposing an interdisciplinary “contamination” among different artistic fields on specific topics and by working with various designers and artists in curating exhibitions and creating permanent museum collections. She conceived Beauty Travel Lifestyle, the first fair in Italy on luxury and lifestyle. She has been invited to curate international projects at the Biennale of Art in Venice and the Italian section of the Montenegro Biennale of Art as well as exhibitions at numerous prestigious museums. She organized the Biennial of Photography and Video and projects for the Film Festivals of Venice and Rome and the Venice Biennale of Architecture. In Beijing, she designed the exhibition Made in Italy in the World. She established for one of her clients the “Prince and the Architect Award,” and is herself recipient of a Clemson Fellowship, an Architectural League of New York Award, a Deutscher Designer Club Design Award, a Woman Profile Prize, a Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Republic Prize, and the Imperial Prize of St. Petersburg.


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About SACI

SACI is a US non-profit College of Art and Design in Florence, Italy, for undergraduate and graduate students seeking accredited instruction in studio art, design, conservation, art history, and Italian language and culture. Founded in 1975, SACI offers the following programs: Academic Semester/Year Abroad, Summer Studies, Venice Summer Program, Post-Bac in Conservation, MFA in Studio Art, MA in Art History.

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