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Jannis Kounellis: Contemporary Art on Lake Maggiore

Grand Hotel Majestic, Art of the World and the Borromeo Islands greet the Greek artist

A veil of sadness envelops these days Isola Madre and Lake Maggiore.
They lost the poor art teacher who, over 10 years ago, had been able to fully grasp the spirit of the place and enter on tiptoe with an art exposition inspired by this Eden lake. He passed away on February the 16th in Rome, his city of choice, Jannis Kounellis, aged 81 years old.

In the spring-summer 2005 on Isola Madre, he signed 'Santa Fe': an exhibition created by the happy encounter between Cristina Zuccari, owner of the Grand Hotel Majestic, and Adelina von Furstenberg, president of Art for the World.

So the princes Borromeo had entered as part of their initiative for the first edition of 'Contemporary Art on Lake Maggiore'. A magical synergy that led to the creation of this extraordinary exhibition; Kounellis himself said "It is as important to do something stunning, as understanding how it can fit into a place." The Greek artist's productions created a perfect and unique symphony between the island's nature and art that came from the heart.

The lobby of the Grand Hotel Majestic in Pallanza still houses one of the works created for 'Santa Fe': those butterflies on lead plates in which the master's intentions wanted to call the art of collecting, a passion that has made Isola Madre a botanical park. The show raised a lot of attention, for the height of the artist and for the exceptionality of the place. They were no shortage of controversy in particular for the presence of Paco, a living parrot guest of one of the artist's installations.

The meeting with Kounellis was the first of a series of events; Lake Maggiore then hosted Bob Wilson, Liliana Moro, William Kentridge, Velasco Vitali and Lorin Maazel.

Moreover, this corner of Verbania has always fascinated men of art and culture from the composer Arturo Toscanini to the French author Flaubert. All bewitched by the quiet of the lake, the botanical richness, by the subtle melancholy that also inspired Jannis Kounellis. We like to remember him with his kaleidoscopic flight of butterflies, witnesses of his creative genius, passion, energy and the extraordinary love for nature.