Men and work


‘The history of the Imola Ceramics Cooperative can be consi-dered from several points of view: as the history of an enter-prise whose origins go back to the mid-eighteenth century; as the history of a cooperative dating back to 1874; as a part of the evolution of Italian industry; as the history of the art of ceramics. The cooperative has singular origins. In Italy the cooperative movement took its first steps when, in 1874, Giuseppe Bucci, with the intention of favouring, to the best of his ability, the progress of industry and the economic betterment of his workers, passed over the management of his factory of majolica ware and crockery to his workers on an experimental basis, with the idea of legali-zing the new setup after three years if things worked out as he hoped. The factory, which was already over 100 years old, gave work on average to 40 or 50 workers. They signed a Pact of brotherhood in which, aware of for-ming a single family in virtue of the communion of work, forgetting any reciprocal disputes, promised one another reciprocal and long-lasting friendship to proceed united towards their moral and material betterment. This spirit – a strong ideal motivation within the economic and social reality of the times aimed at improving the moral and material wellbeing of members and workers – led from the start to innovative decisions as regards social benefits (schools for youngsters, welfare funds and pensions) to the extent that the Statute of the Imola Ceramic Cooperative was taken as an example by other cooperatives then being established (Imola remains today the biggest world centre of production and work cooperatives). The conviction that the growth of the company was the base of the economic and job security of its members, led to a rapid expansion and in the 80s, the company took numerous awards and prizes at various national exhibitions. The number of buyers both in Italy and abroad increased, espe-cially in the UK and Germany. The exhibition being presented at the Meeting will be showing some of the most outstanding pieces of the coope-rative’s Art Department. Of particular importance are three large-format panels, the work of Domenico Minganti, one of which, The Triumph of Work in Cooperation, took the first prize at the VI National Ceramics Competition (1947). The exhibition is divided into three sections. The first presents the works of Caetano Lodi, first director of the Art Department, who arrived at the Imola Ceramics Cooperative after years of experience as an ornamental pain-ter (among other things, he painted the ceiling of the Cassa di Risparmio of Bologna and worked for years in Egypt at the court of the Kedivé). Lodi gave a new impulse to cera-mics. He attempted to go beyond the traditions of the 18th century and reinvent decorations with extraordinary pictorial and plastic taste. The second part covers a period from the early-20th century to the Second World War. Here we find works of eclectic taste, from those inspired by Raphael to legendary scenes, all totally respectful of traditions: in others there are sugge-stions of the new pictorial approaches of Carrà and Sironi. The art direction of Domenico Minganti and the influence of his cooperation with Gio Ponti represent the main theme of the third section, which covers the period from postwar to the end of the 70s. Many unique pieces are on show, the works of master craftsmen, never signed, as is customary; but always recognizable. Besides Minganti we find Arrigo Visani, Umberto Marfisi and others. Some largeformat industrial tiles will terminate the exhibition to indicate the journey of a company, the oldest production and work cooperative in Italy and one of the first to be established in Europe, which has forever been faithful to an ideal: to safeguard and promote work as a fundamental asset of human being and society. A tribute to Cooperation to mark the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the first cooperative.’


20 Agosto 1995 - 26 Agosto 1995


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions