In arte, Milva

Setup and press office for the launch of the exhibition: CMS.Cultura

In arte, Milva

23 November 2023 – 4 February 2024

International Museum and Library of Music, Bologna

Exhibition on the archive donated to the University of Bologna by Martina Corgnati, Milva’s daughter: photographs, records, correspondence, posters, printed articles, awards.

Curated by Anna Maria Lorusso and Lucio Spaziante

In arte, Milva was born from the agreement signed by the Rector Giovanni Molari and Professor Martina Corgnati, daughter of Milva, pseudonym of Maria Ilvia Biolcati, to enhance and share the artist’s path, between music, theatre, cinema, politic commitment. Curated by Professors Anna Maria Lorusso and Lucio Spaziante of the Department of Arts – DAR, the exhibition is promoted by the Unibo Arts Library, the University Library System and the Cultural Heritage Area of the University of Bologna, in collaboration with the International Museum and Library of Music of the Bologna Civic Museums Sector and with the patronage of the Municipality of Bologna.

The archive donated to the Library of Arts of the University of Bologna by Professor Corgnati provides an important exhibition for the history of music and theatre, presenting a selection of music sheets and stage texts, prints relating to photographic services, telegrams and letters from various senders; the collection of vinyls, CDs, VHS and DVDs recorded by the artist.

Maria Ilva Biolcati, aka Milva, has been a protagonist through over fifty years of Italian history. From the Ferrara province of Goro to one of the temples of Italian theatre (the Piccolo Teatro in Milan), passing through Paris, Germany, Greece, Japan, Milva left a mark in the world of entertainment and costume, in multiple genres. She attended Sanremo; she was on the covers of magazines; but she also worked with Luciano Berio; she was (as “Milva the red”) the emblem of committed political song; she recovered the popular tradition and, at the same time, interpreted the songs of Vangelis, composer of soundtracks and electronic music; she was the protagonist of Giorgio Strehler’s shows and the chosen interpreter of many Franco Battiato songs.

Of all these faces, of all these Arts of Milva, the exhibition tries to give an account, from Goro to the international dimension in which her life developed, presenting for the first time part of the legacy donated by her daughter Martina Corgnati to the Library of the Arts of ‘University of Bologna.

Visitors will be able to see a set of materials which in their heterogeneity give a sense of what she was: from the rotogravure clipping to the La Scala poster with the signatures, from the telegram from the French Minister of Culture to the music sheets she annotated for the performance, from the photos with Luciano Berio to those with Heather Parisi, to the whole Brechtian world, which however seems one among the others, not the most definitive one.

The Milva Archive will be open to scholars from the end of the exhibition.

Exhibition itinerary. The exhibition is divided into three spaces, which tell Milva from different perspectives:

  • Room 1 – Life
  • Room 2 – Milva’s arts
  • Room 3 – Milva’s world

The visitor will be able to follow the itinerary (and continue the experience outside the museum) with a musical playlist entitled In arte, Milva, downloadable to their device.

All the materials on display come from the bequest donated to the University of Bologna, with one single- important- exception from the Piccolo Teatro di Milano – Teatri d’Europa, in room 3.

In Room 1, a visual story of Milva is presented: the various identities and labels attributed to the artist over time (such as Pantera di Goro, Italian Piaf, Lady Brecht, Milva the Red…), up to her posterity, somehow represented by the stamp dedicated to her, and cancelled in Goro on 18 November 2022.

In Room 2, Milva’s various artistic “worlds” are presented: first of all, the music’s one (pop, “cultured” and popular music) then the theatre’s one, but also the worlds frequented with less continuity, such as television and cinema.

In Room 3, the aim is to represent the international dimension of the artist, with two main focuses: Europe (Germany, France and Greece) and Japan, with posters, records, charts, notes from illustrious admirers, from Sarkozy to the French Minister of Culture.

These countries are certainly not the only ones where Milva was welcomed and carried in triumph; it is only a curatorial selection. In this international room a particular space is dedicated to Brecht’s Threepenny Opera, directed by Strehler for the Piccolo Teatro.

The exhibition presents exclusively, with concession and loan from the Piccolo Teatro di Milano – Teatro d’Europa (and with the approval of the Archival and Bibliographic Superintendence of Lombardy), the stage dress of Jenny delle Spelonche, protagonist of the play, one of Milva’s most iconic roles.

The exhibition catalog is published by SilvanaEditoriale.

TAG: Exhibition