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by Gianluca Isaia

30 MAY 2018

"Vide Napule e po’ muori"

by Gianluca Isaia

Napoli is an oxymoron, an absolute contradiction. It is a strange and seething mixture of ancient and modern things. But one could imagine this unparalleled city as a metropolitan laboratory of disconcerting modernity overflowing with inspirations from the most varied and possible aspects, even more than NYC or Shanghai.

A physical sense of "o tiempo", time, and a clear distinction according to ages and periods basically has very little meaning in these parts. Here everything is extremely intense, in metamorphosis and full of energy like never before. “Vide Napule e po’ muori" [See Napoli and then die]. Today one could paraphrase the famous saying attributed to that good soul named Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a man who truly loved Napoli. Meanwhile, the number of tourists has increased exponentially. They are primarily foreigners who increasingly challenge the prejudices and the bad name attributed to the city of Vesuvius through many clichés to which we have ironically and humorously dedicated a collection.

Napoli is the Italian city that has seen the greatest growth in the number of visitors and longer stays in 2017. I say this proudly, as someone who has always believed in the city, like everyone here at Isaia, someone who wanted to be an entrepreneur at any cost and employ many people in this difficult and wonderful land. It's true: Napoli is complex, unmanageable, indolent, and chaotic like an irrational geyser. It's anarchy, but what fantastic anarchy! Remember: Nu 'sputà' ncielo, ca 'nfaccia te torna [If you spit in the sky, it will come back and hit you in the face]. Many of our fellow citizens should understand this, first and foremost. Napoli is timeless like no other city, lost in a time-scale that no one can ever fully understand and establish with precision. However, on the other hand, it is very clear that the city and the entire Campania region have been hit in recent years by a wind of strong renewal.

That doesn't take into account what the unforgettable art dealer and agit-prop Lucio Amelio had already done in the field of contemporary art and beyond with his circle of artists that included Andy Warhol and Joseph Beuys in the '70s and '80s. Napoli is a city of extreme contrasts and a thousand intertwined and equal languages. Napoli is perhaps no longer that "carta sporca ca nisciuno se n'iporta" [dirty paper that nobody cares about] as Pino Daniele sang.

Recently, the futuristic Napoli Afragola railway station was inaugurated, an incredible architectural project by Zaha Hadid, a sort of immense cement sail hovering in the air, fluid, undulating and fleeting. In Salerno, after a more than ten years, the maritime station that is another amazing creation by the Iraqi architect has finally opened. This game could still continue, fragmented among a thousand different and complementary rivulets, passing from the towers of the Neapolitan Business District designed by Japanese architect Kenzō Tange in 1995, the first cluster of skyscrapers built in Italy and southern Europe, to the MADRE Museum, an organization viscerally linked to the city that is nourished especially by its relationship with local collectors and enthusiasts and launches continuous thought-provoking topical suggestions and provocations.

There is PLART, a museum and institution dedicated solely to the world of plastic, and numerous foundations like Fondazione Morra, which works in an ancient and fascinating convent sitting in the midst of Naple's neighborhoods. Isaia has always wanted to be a company that understands and is based on a tradition full of sartorial wisdom handed down through generations yet also embraces innovation and is open to experimentation and a continuous interpretation of the present and future. This contemporary momentum of Napoli, which is ideally connected to its ancient roots, is something we feel deeply and is an integral part of our DNA.