Olimpia Zagnoli is an Italian illustrator born in 1984 and she is active in many fields. She is engaged in various works from design to kinetic art, ceramics, neon signs, and media art. Soft lines and color like a chameleon characterize her works, which evokes positive energy and pleasant imagination in spectators.
In collaboration with Innisfree, a Korean cosmetics brand, cosmetic cases were launched with illustrations of her in 2017. Moreover, she collaborated with global brands such as Prada, Dior, Fendi, Max Mara, and Mandarina Duck. In addition, she was loved by the public through illustrations and cover designs by The New York Times, and The New Yorker, as well as the New York subway project. Some of these works can be found at this exhibition.
Chapter 1. Infinity OZ
Pink – Emotional, Bubbly, Elegant, Hopeful and Positive
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a fantasy novel first published in the U.S. in 1900. It contains a message that seeks to realize the potential of all of us in the process of exploring and growing our inner selves through the journey and experiences of Dorothy and her friends. The wisdom, passion, and courage that they wanted to find so much were already present in them.
This exhibition asks questions through the works of Olimpia Zagnoli so that the visitors can face everything they have ever wanted to find, and themselves with an infinite ego. Through the exhibition, she expressed her desire for the viewers not to despair in their difficulties or problems, but to discover precious things they already have, and to gain wisdom, passion, and courage to overcome the crisis.
Chapter 3. The Rescue of the Tin Woodman
Red – Energy, Passion, Love, Temptation, Warmth
The Tin Woodman, once a skilled and good-natured carpenter, fell in love with a Munchkin girl. However, he lost his limbs one by one due to the witch’s jealousy, and his body began to turn into tin. Having gained a strong body, but having lost his heart, he goes on an adventure to get the heart again and propose to the girl.
Zagnoli emphasized the keywords in the story: meeting, breakup, and loving heart. The Tin Woodman lost his most precious heart to him. What other things have people lost? CBT connected what she wanted to convey through this exhibition, and thought about what people lost was a heart that loves themselves. In the story, only love between lovers was mentioned, but she may have noted the heart, which allows us to create a passionate love for someone. Someone must be “myself.”
For most people, including Zagnoli, the color reminiscent of love is red. In this chapter, the CBT could see various love-themed pictures such as heart, love between lovers, love for myself, and friendship using red colors. In particular, “Heartfelt” magazine cover looks like two people with different hair and skin colors, and wearing rainbow clothes, are in love with each other. It seems to just an expression of the love between lovers, and the reporters also felt that anyone is entitled to love and be loved regardless of appearance or personality. Also, it looks like she loves herself in the mirror. In this chapter, each person looks at the picture from various perspectives, and the spectators can find various ways of love. In addition, the reporters could feel passion and warmth for love through it being full of energetic colors and heart shapes.
Chapter 4. The Cowardly Lion
Dark Turquoise – Confident, Healing and Recovery, Reliability, Toughness
The cowardly lion, who looks big and strong, is so afraid of danger that he thinks he is a coward. However, he bravely helps his friends when they are in danger. Courage is not fearless but challenging and acting despite fear.
After seeing this chapter, the CBT remembered what the reporters could not courageously do, and what the reporters courageously challenged but failed. This would probably be everyone’s experience. Challenging and acting always come with failure. Anyone can get hurt and fall in the process, but they can also heal whenever they fall.
Zagnoli saw healing, recovery, new beginnings, and the power of change in the dark turquoise color. In this chapter, the visitors can appreciate works related to “courage” and “me.” Especially, the first picture, Illustration on nature is a work that looks like he is falling asleep while lying on the lawn. Although he is just lying down, the reporters felt as if he is resting and healing himself. The second picture, Illustration on selfie mania is a work holding a repeated picture of herself. In this work, it seemed to mean that people have to face themselves deeply immersed in their hearts in order to be courageous. Also, it seemed to mean people must have the courage to continue challenging themselves. In this chapter, the sentence “True courage is believing in yourself when faced with adversity!” gives the spectators the courage to face pent-up desires, to stop and rest, to start anew, and to accept change. How about taking the courage to challenge anything like it is portrayed in these two pictures?
Chapter 8. The Beginning of a New Adventure
Pink – Emotional, Bubbly, Elegant, Hopeful and Positive
Finally, the Scarecrow gained a good brain, the Tin Woodman gained a warm heart, and the Cowardly Lion gained courage. After overcoming the rough journey, happy friends returned to their hometowns.
The secret color of Chapter 8 is the same as Chapter 1. Chapter 8 is the last chapter, but the story of the journey to find “me” means that it is the beginning. How about believing that if the readers do not lose hope and go through daily life positively, then the readers will find themselves standing in a beautiful world with wisdom, love, and courage?
SECRET OF COLOR: Olimpia Zagnoli exhibition is her second theme exhibition to be introduced in Korea following the Life is Color exhibition held at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts last year. It started on July 4 and runs until Oct. 31 at 426 Gangnam-daero, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, and is closed every Monday. On the fourth floor of the building, readers can also see various goods such as stickers, bookmarks, and notebooks drawn illustrations of Olimpia Zagnoli.
This exhibition is not just a list of works, but an exhibition with a message that she wants to convey by linking the story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with her pictures. As visitors, the CBT were able to think about the meaning of the story and the illustrations, following the storyline, so the reporters could focus more on the exhibition. At the end of the exhibition, a very touching message was written. The reporters could feel that this message was the most important thing that she wanted to convey to people. What is this message? The CBT hope the readers visit and watch the exhibition to find the message and the meaning. This exhibition will be a special experience to think about the identity of “me.”
By Seok Yeon-ji
By Yu So-won