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As the days get shorter and the holiday season approaches, the city lights up with brightly lit goods in store windows and also festive displays in public places and building lobbies. The Milanese-based artist Olimpia Zagnoli captured the spirit of this seasonal trimming with an abstract dot pattern. I asked Zagnoli about winter, illumination, and finding moments of festive brightness this December.
You live in Milan, a city that also lights up for the holidays, yet you drew a holiday tree in New York City. Are they special in some way?
I think the environment feels a bit different everywhere you go. I often think of the trees, the rocks, the mice here in the city. “Do they know they’re New Yorkers?” I ask myself. I think they do.
You just spent a few weeks in the city. Is winter a good time to visit?
Yes, if you have a hat!
We’re nearing the darkest day of the year. Do you have any tricks for keeping your days and nights bright?
Maybe I would, if it only lasted a day. Reading the news, it seems like we’re in the throes of an especially dark period. We’re going to need some very bright light bulbs to lighten up this moment.
You recently exhibited with your family in a gallery in Milan. Can you tell us what that was like?
The show is called “ZaLiZaZa. Inventario di famiglia.” It features the work of my dad, Miro Zagnoli (Za), who is a photographer, my mom, Emi Ligabue (Li), who is a painter, my sister Emilia Zagnoli (Za), who is a costume designer, and mine (the last Za). The exhibition was a conversation between four different people and four different disciplines with the aim of creating a visual dialogue made of images and family objects. It was a rare experience, to look at such an extensive body of works that spans different generations and languages, finding similarities, recurring themes, and idiosyncrasies among the four of us. It was exhilarating, but now we don’t want to see each other anymore until Christmas.
A representative grouping in the family exhibit includes a print by Olimpia Zagnoli (upper left), a hat by Emilia Zagnoli (lower left), paintings by Emi Ligabue (center), and a photographic print by Miro Zagnoli (right).Miro Zagnoli
For more covers about the holiday season, see below:
“December 10, 1955,” by Alain
“Holiday Track,” by Tom Gauld
“Evergreens,” by Matthieu Forichon
Find Olimpia Zagnoli’s covers, cartoons, and more at the Condé Nast Store.