The story of 3 the Plumcake(s)


In the international art scene, the name “plumcake” labels an Italian collective, which was formed in 1983 by Gianni Cella (1953), Romolo Pallotta (1954) and Claudio Ragni (1955) under the aegis of the art dealer Luciano Inga-Pin from Milan. The name is willingly ironic and frolic, released from the semantics of art. It was not by chance that the choice fell on a mainstream food product, which is sweet, tasty, of a pleasing shape, just like their artworks: paintings and brightly colored low-reliefs bring together intellectual art and popular art, comics and classical culture, design and craftsmanship. But let us not be fooled!

An artistic receipt against the trend

“It is an example of paradoxical communication. The situation is infuriating and sharp, and we depict it with sweet shapes. This is irony, pure irony, but it is maybe the only way we have to transmit the paradox of modern life.
(Interview, p. 28, Frigidaire, Dicember 1984, Italy, qte., free translation from Italian).




They are deeply simple. Their artworks are comprehensible by adults and kids, and they depict the contemporary culture with its own languages, without, anyway, being obvious and trivial.

“It is not true that our work starts from the mediation of comics or cinema. The issue is more complex. We re-propose facts and images as if they were comics or movie’s scenes. [...] We do not take a cue from comics, but the way we depict fantastic and realistic situations is taken from comics. We could say that reality is represented in a basic manner. We find “already-made” images which are, in the end, archetypes, «clichés»”.
(Interview, p.10, Westuff, year II, n. I April 1985, Italy, qte., free translation from Italian)


After the first exhibition in January of 1983, at Diagramma Gallery by Luciano Inga-Pin, Plumacakes exhibit their artworks in important projects in North Italy, North Europe and in America. In 1984, while maintaining their artistic autonomy and their brand, they cooperate with other collectives, like the Elikotteri - Abate, Bonfiglio, Innocente, Lodola, Palmieri, Postal-. All these collectives together are considered by the critics a unique movement named “New Futurism”..

“We are not bounded to the features of the historical Futurism, which merely look to the future. We turn back and look back to the past with great interest. We are futuristic, in a way we live in the present time, and in the way we are one step ahead, if compared to other artistic movements”.
(Interview, p.10, Westuff, year II, n. I April 1985, Italy, qte., free translation from Italian)


Mostly fiberglass, canvas and colors.

“Obviously, this is the right choice of the ingredients which determine a perfect result of a plumcake, like your karma, for instance: ‘you can read the horoscope on your tongue’.”
(L. Inga-Pin, Plumcake, Milan, 1983, qte., free translation from Italian)


Their purpose is to give an answer to the abstract and expressionistic painting of the end of ‘70s and of the beginning of ‘80s, and to give an answer to the use of canvas: the members of the group define themselves “Heroes of the Painting”, since the three-dimensionality of their artworks does not threat the value of the representation; on the contrary, three-dimensionality gives concreteness and intuitivism to the representation: in the same way the ‘400s low-relief had the aim to tell episodes and values of the high-medieval society in a simple and immediate manner, so that the Plumcake(s)’ artworks offer a laic biblae pauperum – which is ironic and irreverent in respect of the everyday life and of the contemporary idols.

Light, fragrant, tasty, [the Plumcake] does not interrupt the flow of ideas and, at the same time, it produces local energy due to an overproduction of artworks. Moreover, an overdose of plumcake can convince the undecided art collector - who is disturbed by the ‘regular panettone’-, to buy news sweetness like: Cella biscuits, Ragni cake, Pallotta beanie”.
(L. Inga-Pin, Plumcake, Milan, 1983, qte., free translation from Italian)


“You cannot simply buy a plumcake, you have to make it for all reasons we mentioned: [...]: need for sex, for escape, for compensation;...”
(L. Inga-Pin, Plumcake, Milan, 1983, qte., free translation from Italian)

How to taste it

“[...] The eating is fine; so long as it is unbridled. We have to evoke Pantagruel, and to eat the famous and unreachable plumcake, to rage on this exotic food product, to be the very image of transgression!!!”. To abuse of what is normally measured is the rule; I am sure that, in doing so, we will be done with the theories of dépense too”.
(G. Verzotti, Plumcake, Milano, 1983, qte., free translation from Italian).


“[...] The overdose of Plumcake - even though the eyes of the farmer, of the backer, of the salesgirl, of the lady or of her unexpected visitor are deeply light-blue -, can cause phenomena of intolerance towards gold frames from 19.30 to 20.30."
(L. Inga-Pin, Plumcake, Milan, 1983, qte., free translation from Italian)


“Market investigation have found that on the earthly globe, about 17.000.000 plumcakes are daily eaten. This is an abnormal love if compared to the low consumption of panettone from Milan. The different reasons of this success –even if there is no a systemic investigation -, are probably due, first of all, to the psychoanalytic shape [of plumcake]: the chance of vivisection for moralist people (with a musical background); the discovery of the “content”, which can reveal the more or less willing to socialize by the executor; the absolute belief, even if it is temporary, to live in Park Lane, to live, in other words, in an ‘another’ continent”.
(L. Inga-Pin, Plumcake, Milan, 1983 qte., free translation from Italian)


Personal exhibitions

Galleria Diagramma, Milano.
Panico, Musicineteatro Anteo, Milano.
Studio G7 Bologna.
Galleria Catherine Issert, St. Paul de Vance.
Galleria Diagramma, Milano.
Galleria Phanta Arte, Como.
Galleria Omar Aprile Ronda, Biella.
Galleria Ponte Pietra, Verona.
Galleria Murnik, Milano.
Galleria Zelig, Bari.
Macplas 88, Convegno industriali della plastica, Düsseldorf.
Galleria Zelig, Bari.
Galleria Kaess-Weiss, Stoccarda.
Galleria Patrik Fröhlich, Berna.
Galleria M. Noire, Torino.
Centro Beursschouwburg, Bruxelles.
Galleria Torch Onrust, Colonia.
Torch Gallery, Amsterdam.
Groninger Museum, Groninga
Oratorio S. Sebastiano, Forlì.
Studio Cavalieri, Bologna.
Galleria Patrik Fröhlich, Berna.
Associazione Culturale Italo-Francese, Bologna.
Circolo di Palazzo Giovine, Alba.
Galleria Atrium, Biella.
Aperto '90, XLIV Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte La Biennale di Venezia, Venezia.
Studio d'Arte Raffaelli, Trento.
Galleria Santo Ficara, Firenze.
Galleria Ponte Pietra Arte Contemporanea, Verona.
Torch Gallery, Amsterdam.
Centro Steccata, Milano.
Galleria Placentia Arte, Piacenza.
Studio Spaggiari, Milano.
Plumcake, Galleria Melesi, Lecco.
Galleria Patrik Frohlich, Berna.
Plumcake e Postal, Studio d'Arte Ciocca Raffaelli, Milano.
Gallery Cotthem Knokke-Zoute, Belgium.
Centro Steccata, Parma.
Patrik Frohlich, Zurigo.
Galleria Proposte d'Arte, Legnano.
Galleria Angelo Falzone, Mannheim, Germania.
Galleria VSV, Torino, a cura di E. Di Mauro.

Collective exhibitions

Opera Aperta, Centro Arti Plastiche, Udine.
Bello stabile, Galleria Diagramma, Milano.
Home Sweet Home, Galleria Diagramma, Milano.
Hangar x tempo di guerra tempo di pace, Galleria Diagramma, Milano.
Una generazione post-moderna, Musei Civici, Reggio Emilia a cura di R. Barilli e R. Daolio.
New Look in the Bodo's house, Galleria Diagramma, Milano.
Nuovo Futurismo, Arte Fiera, Bologna.
Nuovo Futurismo, Galleria Pellegrino, Bologna.
Nuovo Futurismo, Galleria Grita Insam, Vienna.
Cravatta al museo, Palazzo Inghirami, Milano.
A Est e a Ovest del crepuscolo, ex Convento di San Pietro, Asolo, a cura di M.G. Torri.
NeoFuturphanta, Phanta arte, Como.
Anniottanta, Castel Sismondo, Rimini, a cura di R. Barilli.
Ricognizione anni 80-85, Ex Convento san Carlo, Erice a cura Rossana Bossaglia.
Paesaggio e paesaggio, Palazzo Ducale, Mantova.
Saluti dall'Italia, Luisa, Via Roma, Firenze.
Anni Ottanta, Castel Sismondo, Rimini,a cura di R.Barilli.
Nuovo Futurismo, Groninger Museum, Groningen, a cura di R.Barilli, F.Haks, L.Inga Pin.
Dopo il Concettuale, Nuove Generazioni in Lombardia, Palazzo delle Albere, Trento a cura di L. Caramel.
Besana Ottanta, Nuovo Futurismo, Rotonda della Besana, Milano, a cura di R. Barilli.
Nuovo Futurismo, Galerie Kaess-Weiss, Stoccarda.
Nuovo Futurismo, Galleria S.Teucher, Zurigo.
SS...ssswatchgala, Superstudio, Milano.
Effetto placebo, Galleria Murnik, Milano.
Beeld en Land '87, Winshoten.
Pensieri di plastica, Groninger Museum, Groningen.
Galleria Torch Onrust, Colonia.
Quattro artisti neofuturisti, Studio Raffaelli, Trento.
Nuovo Futurismo, Centro Arti Plastiche, Ville de S.Fous, Lione.
Equinozio d'autunno, Castello di Rivara, Torino.
Besana Ottanta Arte e Computer, Rotonda della Besana, Milano, a cura di R. Barilli.
Nuovo Futurismo, Galleria Esca, Nimes.
Sagome e tracce, Carpi, Modena, a cura di M.G. Torri.
The step of an artist, show room Bossi, New York.
Galleria Michael Orback, Colonia (con U.Postal, Innocente).
Eros e Architettura, Torch Gallery, Amsterdam.
Realisme in Zoetermeer, Rotterdam.
Singolare / plurale, Galleria Diagramma, Milano.
MaterialMente. Scultori degli anni '80", Galleria Comunale d'Arte Moderna, Bologna.
Swatch Emotion, Design Italiano, Grand Palais, Parigi.
Nuovo Futurismo, Centro Culturale Italiano, Madrid, a cura di R. Barilli.
Nuovo Futurismo, Galerie Am Rindermarkt 26, Zurigo.
Nuove acquisizioni, Galleria Comunale d'Arte Moderna, Bologna.
Mediterranea, Expoarte, Fiera del Levante, Bari, a cura di R. Barilli.
Banca di Oklahoma, Studio Carbone, Torino.
Design in corso n°4, Galleria Rocca 6, Torino.
Nuovo Futurismo, La Macchina dell'Arte, Biella.
Eccentrici Volumi, ex Convento S.Maria dei Maschi, Bari, a cura di L. de Venere.
Via col Vento, artisti italiani contro l'AIDS, Palazzo di Re Enzo, Bologna, a cura di M.L. Frisa.
Nuovo Futurismo 1984-1990, Galleria Murnik, Milano.
Nuovo Futurismo, Salon de la Misericordia, Palma di Majorca, a cura di R. Barilli.
Aperto 90, Corderie dell'Arsenale, Biennale di Venezia, 1990.
La ragione trasparente, Galleria Verlato, Milano.
Quindicesima Biennale Internazionale del Bronzetto Piccola Scultura, Palazzo della Ragione, Padova a cura di R. Barilli.
L'Oggetto e lo Spazio, scultura italiana degli anni '90, Loggetta Lombardesca, Ravenna.
Nuovo Futurismo, Palazzo Guasco, Alessandria,a cura di R. Barilli.
Nuovo Futurismo, Galleria Rino Costa, a cura di R. Barilli, Casale Monferrato, (AL).
Retablo, Palazzo Gotico, Piacenza.
5 Triennale Fellbach Kleinplastik, Fellbach.
Triennale Piccola Scultura, Fehlbach.
Palazzo della Ragione, Mantova.
Pinacoteca Provinciale, Bari.
Il Mondo di Snoopy, Spazio Flaminio, Roma.
Nuovo Futurismo, Galleria Sorrenti, Novara.
Nuovo Futurismo, Galleria Fontanella Borghese, Roma.
Il consumo disegnato, il disegno consumato, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Roma.
Swatch Emotion, Design Italiano, Grand Palais, Parigi.
Neue Futuristen, Amburgo,Galerie Levy.
Nuovo Futurismo, a.c. di R. Barilli, MART, Archivio del ‘900, Rovereto e Galleria d’Arte Moderna, San Marino.
Il giardino dell'arte, Parco Michelotti ex zoo, Torino.
Il paese delle meraviglie e le tavole della legge, Castello di Volpaia.
Il giardino dell'Eden, Care off, Cusano Milanino a cura di E. Di Mauro.
Omaggio a Marinetti, Palazzo Guasco, Alessandria.
Nel Segno dell'Angelo, Galleria Bianca Pilat, Milano.
Art to Swatch, The Chicago Athenaeum, Chicago.
Design Europeo, Louisiana Museum, Copenaghen.
Natura Naturans, Museo di Storia Naturale Trieste.
Va pensiero, Arte Giovane Italiana 1985-99, Promotrice Belle Arti, Torino, a cura di E. Di Mauro.
Due o tre cose che so di loro, PAC, Milano, a cura di M.Meneguzzo. "Mitovelocità" Galleria d'Arte moderna e Contemporanea, San Marino, RSM a cura di A. Fiz.
Art Fiction, Museo Mhutesius, Kiel, Germania a cura di E. Di Mauro.
Nuovo Futurismo, Galleria Aquifante, Busto Arsizio, (VA).
Motomito, Chiostri di S.Domenico, Reggio Emilia, a cura di Valerio Dehò.
Lo sguardo innocente l'arte, l'infanzia, il 900, Palazzo Martinengo, Brescia, a cura di R. Barilli.

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