Between 1977 and 1999 Pinin Brambilla Barcilon spent fifty thousand hours of her life restoring Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, one of the most controversial and complex operations ever carried out in the history of restoration. The woman, and her professional and existential life form the centre around which the work Madame Pinin revolves. Conceived by MASBEDO (Nicolò Massazza, Milan 1973, Iacopo Bedogni, Sarzana 1970), this narrative is taken as an example for a wider discourse on the concept of beauty, its preservation, its care and the intrinsic fragility of the work of art. The condition of art works rely on time and history, although it is the history of man who intervenes to preserve the survival of memory through its physical presence. This is a very valuable cultural activity, backed – in this case – by the constant commitment of Olivetti, a visionary firm which, through the presence of the distinguished figure of the manager Renzo Zorzi, who assumed the direction of the whole restoration operation.
An exemplary story that Masbedo tells today through a complex photographic, audio and video installation, starting with Madame Pinin’s video (2017), a never-before-seen production by Masbedo that shows a pictorial portrait through the details of the hands, face and eyes of restorer Pinin Brambilla Barcilon. The artists framed these details of the woman’s body as if through a magnifying glass as they are those elements that tackled – in an exhausting struggle – the light and colours of Leonardo’s masterpiece, making them finally reappear.
March 16, 2018