The seventies were the time of a great cultural and economic ferment in Bologna: DAMS was founded, the Galleria d’Arte Moderna was inaugurated, the management district of Kenzo Tange was built while construction industry trade fair took on increasing international relevance. On the occasion of the latter, from 8 to 14 October 1972 in Piazza Santo Stefano, from an idea of the Fondazione Iris Ceramica, “Pollution, for a new aesthetic of pollution” was organised, a revolutionary artistic movement seeking to reflect on pollution as political, social and environment declaration. Under the artistic direction of Gianni Sassi, 26 artists, including Mario Ceroli, Ugo La Pietra, Armando Marrocco, Claudio Parmiggiani, Gianni Ruffi and the UFO group gave their own conceptual and material interpretation of ecological awareness and the possible “ways of managing a changing nature” through works exhibited in an urban square paved ad hoc with 10,000 ceramic tiles, reproducing a giant clod of earth.
After 46 years, Romano Minozzi, then and now the Chairman of Iris Ceramica Group, decided to relaunch the same, very topical challenge during Cersaie 2018, together with Mario Cucinella Architects and the School of Sustainability with a project for new temporary urban installation. “Pollution 1972 was a radical event that made the visitor aware of the ecological paradox; Pollution 2018 puts the concrete action that the spectator can take at the centre. If in 1972, the earth printed on a ceramic tile was the symbol of the declaration, in 2018 it is the physical nature that emerges in a striking way from artificial soil to take back its spaces and confer quality on the social life in urban spaces.”
There are 40 young oaks that emerge from a reflecting blade with well-defined triangular geometry: a “wood” that occupies the central part of the square, the part less experienced and comfortable, and that, in the broader side, ends with a staircase placed at the front of the evocative wing of the façade of the monumental complex of the 7 churches. If the square is seen as a social device and meeting place for people, its “new” mirrored surface dotted with trees becomes a device that amplifies the physical perception of the space, projecting it into a dreamlike dimension, with the intention of provoking in the spectator a reflection on the benefits of a greater integration with the green and upturning the urban/nature relationship. The visitor enters the wood through a central cut, a crack that is also the narrative course that leads from Pollution 1972 to Pollution 2018 thanks to the path laid by Active Clean Air & Antibacterial Ceramic™, the technology of Iris Ceramica Group that contributes to the absorption of polluting particles, symbol of the social and environmental commitment undertaken by the company from ’72 to today.