Change is Constant: In Milan, 4 Artists Were Inspired by Bulgari’s Serpenti In Creating ‘Metamorphosis’ Art - Arts & Culture

Ann Veronica Janssens, Azuma Makoto, Daan Roosegaarde, and Vincent Van Duysen each created installations at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna.

Bvlgari has once again starred in the Milan Design Week with the inauguration of an exhibition dedicated to the evolution of the iconic symbol of the snake at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna (GAM) in Milan.

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In the beautiful courtyard of the GAM, Bvlgari Group CEO Jean-Christophe Babin welcomed the guests attending the vernissage from Stefano Boeri and Carlo Capasa to Tamara Kalinic and Cristina Parodi.

Under the artistic direction of Alba Cappellieri, Professor at the Polytechnic University of Milan, Bulgari tells the story of the snake as a symbol. A representation of metamorphosis and regeneration in deifferent cultures, it has come to symbolize the Rome-based maison since the 1940s.

For Milan, it also presents the work of 4 international artists: Ann Veronica Janssens, Azuma Makoto, Daan Roosegaarde, and architect Vincent Van Duysen. Each of them interpreted the theme through installations created in their own artistic language.

The exhibition began in the courtyard of the GAM with a pavilion that welcomes guests. It goes up the grand staircase to the Gallery’s interiors, proceeding linearly and culminating in four monographic rooms. In each space, a different contemporary artist displayed his or her vision of metamorphosis.

Garden of Eden

In the first, Makoto delivers his personal take on the Garden of Eden. The Japanese artist is famous for creating unique sculptures using natural elements such as flowers, fruits, and greens. The tree rises at the center of a glass platform that visitors can walk on, immersing the visitor in a wild, almost visceral landscape.

Metamorphosis is expressed through the idea that all things in nature are living things, and and therefore changes shape, color, and smell as time passes.

Makoto continues along this vein for Golden Eden, his installation at Bulgari Hotel in Milan. It is an interpretation of the natural environment of the Bulari Serpenti Icon. A 3×3-meter mirrored structure allows a botanical sculpture made of exotic and seasonal flowers finished in gold to suspend in the space.

“Arranging flowers into a brilliant and dynamic composition, I created an artwork with an image in my mind of a very delicate world: an Eden where flowers from all over the world are gathered, highlighting the flowers’ life whose silhouette is transformed by gold,” Makoto explains.

Lotus Oculus

Inspired by the ancient Pantheon in Rome, Roosegaarde’s artwork is made of hundreds of light sensitive flowers. The installation, made of smart foils which respond to light and heat, was exhibited at the Modern Art Gallery in Milan.

The light-sensitive wall interacts with the viewer by unfolding its flowers as though it was breathing. Roosegaarde calls this dynamic dialogue as “techno-poetry,” and “a metamorphosis of technology and nature.”

Gam gam gam

For Janssens’ installation, the artist makes use of natural light and a composition of new works. Called “gam gam gam,” the artwork’s aesthetic is minimalist, which is in stark contrast with the maximalism of the location’s architecture.

Her work is based on the optical effect of reflection, which produces impressions that are continually changing. This includes a golden Venetian blind which was specially produced for the windows of the room, and six “aquariums” where optical physical phenomena are used to expand the observers’ perception.

“My main material is light. I use it in all forms, liquid, solid, gaseous, as a reflection. It is like a kind of test, radiation that you can check,” Janssens says. “A radiation that allows me to show displays of reality in a different way.”

The artist believes that sometimes you have to cancel out reality, “cancel what is visible to see something else, to make the invisible actually visible. (…) It is free time that means we can observe and discover other phenomena to decipher that other reality.”


Van Duysen, meanwhile, created a contemplative space filled with simple shapes and rich materials, where one could find shelter and silence. The installation emerges from the wooded floor, and develops into a labyrinth covered with various metallic tones, from silver to gold.

In the middle of the area is a monolith object, the opaque surface of which recalls the design of the Serpenti.

All installations are made from natural materials, such as metals, flowers, water and glass and have been created to have their own life and to be reused over the years following a circular economy approach.

As the 2021 Design Week will be an edition characterized by both in-person and digital experiences, the platform “Bulgari Serpenti Hub” was enriched with special content about the exhibition and its connection to the universe of Bulgari’s Serpenti.

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