12X6 with Serena Gianoli

Twelve works for six months, a project that transforms our offices into a gallery of artworks to narrate the stories and worlds of young creative talents.

For the fourth edition of 12X6, we immersed ourselves in the world of Serena Gianoli. Her deep fascination in Japanese culture, inspired by her readings, has given life to 12 artworks representing characters, customs, and legends from Japanese popular culture.

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The Japonisme exhibition, which we inaugurated on October 19th in the company of friends, colleagues, and design enthusiasts, takes its name from a term coined at the end of the 19th century by the critic Philippe Burty.

“Japonisme,” prevalent mainly in the 19th century, represents the influence of Japanese art, culture, and aesthetics on Western culture. This artistic movement originated in Europe, especially in France, and influenced numerous artists and designers of the time. Japanese artists like Hokusai and Hiroshige became famous in the West through prints and artworks imported from Japan, depicting cherry blossoms, everyday life scenes, costumes, and more.

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"A couple of years ago, during research for a mythology-related project, I came across the legend of Namazu, a massive catfish capable of causing earthquakes and kept in check by the god Kashima, the thunder deity. Captivated by paintings depicting this legend, I wanted to interpret, in my own way, some of these mythological images and the fluidity, as well as the strength, of Japanese artistic representations.”

Among the highlights of the exhibition, you will find depictions of herons and cherry blossoms, timeless symbols in Japanese art and culture. Herons symbolize grace and longevity. There is also Kintsugi, an ancient Japanese art known as the ‘golden repair,’ which uses lacquer and gold powder to mend broken objects. You will also discover artworks inspired by samurai, the tea ceremony, dragons and tigers, Namazu, and Taiko, the traditional drums that embody power and rhythm in Japanese culture.

12X6 is a project born to provide space, both metaphorically and literally, for young professionals in the world of visual arts. Every six months, a comprehensive journey of twelve artworks is hosted in our offices, which become a permanent gallery for creative talents.

During the opening night, Serena performed live painting, creating the Pet-Daruma, charming Japanese-style representations of our four-legged friends.
Instagram: @pet_daruma

Daruma dolls, also known as Dharma dolls, are Japanese votive figurines without legs or arms, representing Bodhidharma, the founder and first patriarch of Zen.

In thanking all the people who participated in the opening night, we would like to remind everyone that for the next six months, ‘Japonisme’ can be ‘visited’ at the CBA headquarters, located at Via San Francesco d’Assisi 15, Milan. We would also like to extend our thanks to Alessandro Doro, Raffaele Sabella, and Claudia Alexandrino, who were the protagonists of previous editions.

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Serena Gianoli is an Illustrator and Visual Designer who lives and works in Milan, amidst black and white lines, colorful palettes, and a backpack full of markers, along with her ever-present sketchbook.

To delve deeper into her work and discover how her style will evolve, you can visit her Instagram profile @serenagianoli or her website www.serenagianoli.com.