La dolce vita isn’t just a movie.
After all, Federico Fellini’s abilities went far beyond directing – from his start as designer and character creator to becoming a screenwriter and author, Fellini’s career traces the path of an artistic influencer whose unmistakable style brought worldwide recognition to Italian cinema and other creative fields. La dolce vita should not be limited to the what the paparazzi hungrily waited to capture in iconic Roman streets; as a lifestyle, costume style, and design style, it was also a precursor to the Made in Italy movement.
Marcello Mastroianni and the then-emerging actress Anita Ekberg represented the ultimate embodiment of the film’s esthetic spirit and set an example for generations of actors and designers in both Italy and abroad. La dolce vita is akin to a brand for all things and individuals that are in style, whether it be a fashionable bon-vivant or a modish new locale, a symbol that immediately recalls an Italy of style, pleasure, and myth. I also like to think that it evokes Italian talent.
With this uniquely magical moment of 1960s
Italian culture in mind, my aim is to offer an exhibition composed of minute suggestions, atmospheres, faded colors, and faces that continue to remain in our imagination and memories. An exhibition that “watercolors” that myth and paints it as an artwork comparable to those that generated innovation and inspired new artistic expression. The artistic training of my own generation owes much more than we imagine to Fellini’s film in terms of taste, thought process, and image.
Everything about this film makes me want to paint it – the shape of Anita’s body as she bathes in the Trevi Fountain, the ineffable black Borsalino hat donned by Marcello-as-Federico, and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider driving through the romantic Roman night – perhaps because I love painting water by night, uncovered cars, hats, and any face that tells a story.
It’s likely not by chance that I encountered this theme during my journey, but as an opportunity that I immediately embraced and wish to share with anyone, myself included, who has ever been fascinated by it.