The Italian Pavilion at the next Gifa in Düsseldorf will host a selection of works, finalists in the latest editions of the COMEL prize, which every year selects thirteen artists who succeeded in enhancing the expressive possibilities of aluminium
by Roberto Guccione
The ‘Premio COMEL Vanna Migliorin Arte Contemporanea’ was established in 2012 in memory of Mrs Vanna Migliorin, of her passion for art and her enthusiasm in supporting innovative projects. Vanna Migliorin was a loving mother and an ingenious businesswoman. In 1968, along with her husband Alfonso Mazzola, she founded CO.ME.L., a company based in Latina (a coastal town in central Italy) that became a leading business in the trade and processing of semi-finished aluminium metals. It celebrated 50 years of activity in 2018. Her children, who continue their parents’ entrepreneurial activity, in addition to the Award, created a gallery dedicated to art, Spazio COMEL, in the heart of Latina, allowing free access to artists and the public.
The Award is meant to draw attention to the expressive, aesthetic, communicative and constructive possibilities of aluminium, to strengthen the relationship between business and contemporary art , to create a vital and significant synergy between the public and artists and promote intercultural relations among European countries.
Aluminium can be forged, modelled, laminated, like hot wax in the artist’s hands. It lends itself to take on the desired forms and volumes. It is lightweight (one third of steel), shiny, soft, durable, with good electrical and thermal conductivity, 100% recyclable with an energy cost equal to one twentieth of that necessary for its first melting. Visually intriguing, with its unique characteristics, aluminium is the true contemporary material.
The COMEL prize among excellencies made in Italy
Amafond and ITA-Italian Trade Agency (Agency of the Government for the promotion abroad and the globalization of Italian companies) decided to provide international visibility to this vision by hosting a selection of works which made it to the finals in the last editions of the prize within the Italian Pavilion at the Gifa 2019 trade show, which will be held in Düsseldorf on June 25th-29th. After all CO.ME.L. is one of the most active companies in Italy when it comes to the relationship between art and industry; this allows it to be included among the giants of made in Italy, even though it is, by comparison, a small reality in terms of size and production. The activity in favour of art is continuous. From 2016 the company appears among the selected participants in the Corporate Art Awards, sponsored by pptArt, the first start-up for Italian art crowdsourcing, in collaboration with Luiss Business School. The awards identify, enhance and promote the excellence of institutional, corporate and private patronage at an international level.
“Being invited to Düsseldorf by Amafond and ITA was very gratifying”, as Adriano and Maria Gabriella Mazzola, second generation at the helm of CO.ME.L., remark; “Noting that the Premio COMEL is an Italian reality with a consolidated European activity, in promoting the creative use of aluminium, the organisers thought that it could represent our country within the Italian pavilion. It has been an honour and a pleasure for us to accept the invitation”.
Considering the theme of the international fair, it seemed more appropriate that among the approximately 100 finalist works of the seven editions of the Premio COMEL, there should be those closely related to the casting technique on display in Düsseldorf.
A small specific exhibition, therefore, but which amply demonstrates how a metal, combined with the artist’s creativity, can take shape in many ways and tell different stories starting from the same basic technique.
Every year Premio COMEL selects 13 artists’ works (13 is the atomic number of aluminium) which, respecting the assigned theme of the European announcement, more than others highlight the expressive, aesthetic, communicative and constructive possibilities of aluminium.
Participation in the competition is free and open to artists aged 18 and over, who work in all European countries, who use aluminium as the central element in the realisation of the work they intend to register for the competition. On each edition, the 13 finalist works are exhibited in Latina, at Spazio COMEL Arte Contemporanea gallery (www.spaziocomel.it), the exclusive venue of the event.
In 2018, the seventh edition of the Prize, where artists had been requested to interpret the theme of harmony, was won by Russian artist Sergey Filatov with his work “Platasonus, 2017”, a minimal and very intriguing composition using aluminium as a resounding metal.
Art and enterprise, CO.ME.L.’s commitment
CO.ME.L.’s cultural commitment assumes that creativity is the fundamental and tangible element of a healthy society. Therefore, art, in its various expressions, must be supported and encouraged, respecting freedom and responsibility. The creation of the Premio COMEL, and the involvement in the preparatory and organisational phases, starting from the heart of the company (the secretariat and also the operating personnel of the workshops) confirm the close correlation between doing business and making art. CO.ME.L. is the example of a small-medium enterprise that invests energy and sponsorship in art (without external help), with the conviction of triggering positive and creative synergies, a sort of domino effect that can extend favourably to the working, productive, and participatory climate (with the participation of the company’s clients and the artists’ public), also favouring the social aspect.