Sunday, June 01, 2008

Just a Day in Milan

The Flight
On Wednesday I continued my Life of Riley existence by popping over to Milan for the day. Main purpose was to see work from my friend Eunjeong, who was exhibiting at the Institute Marangoni, but also to meet up with Quy, who was at the RCA when I was at IC (I’ll leave you to work that out!). Unfortunately the cheap Ryanair flights didn’t extend towards the weekend, so I ended up making it a daytrip. Cue horribly early departure – about 3:45am, finally returning about 1:30am the following morning.

Bus to Luton and as much sleep as I could squeeze out of the relatively short flight. We landed on time, which meant we received a loud fanfare noise over the PA – “Another on-time flight from Ryanair”! Marvellous. They didn’t have the right to play it on the return flight though! I remember once when I was flying back from visiting Ursula in Verona – on the last flight of the day. “Have you booked a cab from Stansted?”, she asked. No need, I reply, there’s plenty of time to catch the last Stansted Express train. “Book the cab”, she replied, “you will not make that last train”, and she was right.

Of course, it all comes down to 20 minute turnarounds – whilst Ryanair claim 90% punctuality (though I suspect if you dig into how this is defined, there will be some fixes), but if you look at the last flights on each route, I am convinced the punctuality will be far lower. According to, 75% of Ryanair flights arrived within 15 minutes of schedule last year. Sounds more realistic! Can’t wait to fly these guys transatlantic!

The Exhibition
Institute Marangoni is in downtown Milan, just a few doors along from Alexander McQueen’s shop. The exhibition was in a room called The Black Room, and no prizes for guessing how it was painted. Not ideal for exhibiting the way it had been set up, as it was very dark, yet lined on one side by very bright windows, hence difficult to see the work.

Wave from East exhibition

Detail from Eunjeong’s work

Eunjeong’s work

The City, the Sunshine
After the tranquil gallery, it was time to head out into the glorious sunshine, made all the more joyful given that it was raining and miserable in London. A few minutes away I hit the Duomo (Cathedral) and main square.

Duomo from the side

Elephants being moved into position

The Royal Palace, adjacent to the cathedral, was hosting a Francis Bacon exhibition, which I decided to visit – not knowing that much about the Irish born painter who lived most of his life in London. Exhibition is on till the end of June.

Francis Bacon at the Royal Palace

Whilst clearly a talented artist, I don’t claim to support his style of distorting faces and figures. As part of the exhibition, they showed a documentary clearly filmed many years ago in which he was interviewed by none other than Melvin Bragg. You can watch it here: As you watch, it becomes clear that there are a few screws loose in Bacon’s head!

Next up, a wander through Milano, past the usual tourist suspects of cathedral (second largest gothic church in world), and the enormous shopping arcade leading off the piazza in front:

Duomo from the front

Vittorio Emanuele Gallery

The Food
Lunch was a tasty Milan-style (i.e. very thin) marinara pizza with a beer. Then of course, the Italian staple for a warm day.. yummy pistachio (I was told off about the pronouciation – Italians say pistaccio – hard “c”s sound) gelati, enjoyed sat in the square facing the Duomo.


Then a pleasant stroll through town towards where I was to meet Quy.

San Lorenzo

This was the canals area in the South West, near Porta Genova station. The canals here are fast moving, with a fair bit of green plant debris in them – being fed by some rivers out of the city. I believe the canals are also very old – 900 years or so. Not as pretty as Little Venice in London, but still a welcome aquatic artery in this city.

Canalside on the Naviglio Grande

Was good to catch up with Quy, and I was sad to be leaving so soon as the vibe was great as everyone enjoyed aperifs and the mild weather – even the local Irish bar looked inviting! Who would have thought?!

Trendy Irish bars!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Life, can be, often grotesque, art is life, art is grotesque, Bacon is brilliant