The "Project Milan " began in July of 2013.
We met with Milan based artist, Glen Lasio who was working as an apprentice in the Legendary
print house of Giorgio Upiglio. Hundreds of renowned artists had come to experience Upiglio's
expertise and guidance in the art of print making. At age 81, Giorgio Upiglio was considered to
be one of the great European Masters. On a sweltering July afternoon, we came to the Upiglio studio.
Glen made the introductions in Italian and English.
Inside the print shop there are long tables, inking stations, stacks of prints carefully wrapped and
marked with the artists names, flat files filled with printed works, posters of well known and famous
artists who came to work here; photos of artists and collectors of Art standing with Upiglio; historical
markers covering decades of work.
It is not an exaggeration to say that there are thousands of images stored here; some were left as
payment to the studio from the artists, others have been left for the studio archive. In 2011, the Swiss town of
Mendrisio took 3500 images to Switzerland for a new archive…It was a small extraction.
The assistants were all engaged at different stations, some inking, some printing, some proofing.
Giorgio wore a long, blue smock; stiff from the enormous amounts of ink that had stained it.
He stopped to greet us. He was gracious, smiling and at ease. Agnieszka Ziemacka-Masters briefly
filmed Giorgio that day. In the background is the sound of ancient bells from the nearby church,
It is an amazing moment; a powerful feeling to first experience Upiglio in his studio on Via G. Fara 4 in Milan.
One is transported by his Italian sensibility.
There is always classical music playing towards the back of the studio, filodiffusione, the Italian
equivalent of a cable station.
There is a sense of European splendor. Above all else, there is the quiet but formidable presence of history.
Within moments of arriving, I knew that I wanted to work there. A few hours later,over lunch, we began
forming the plan that would become, Progetto Milano.
Five artists would participate; three, Meredith Sands, Adrian Leverkuhn and Thomas Masters would fly
in from Chicago; two Silvia Makita and Glen Lasio lived in Milan. Agnieszka Ziemacka-Masters would
film the entire experience and create a documentary around the project as it unfolded.
The project would begin on October 21, 2013. The first step would be for each artist to create a small
number of works, using the printing method of their choice. Then, sometime in 2014, selected works from
the project would be shown in Milan and in Chicago. We wanted to keep it simple, direct and under
the guidance of Giorgio. The themes and or concepts of the work would unfold naturally; without
predetermination on the part of the artists.
Something told me to come back and start the project as soon as possible.
I was worried about Giorgio Upiglio's age; his fragility. My concerns were not unfounded.
Just a week before the project began, during a violent rainstorm in Milan, Upiglio while descending his
staircase at home, had small stroke which caused him to fall. He died a few days later.
Glen Lasio wrote to me of the tragedy and wondered if I would still want to carry on the project.
Without hesitation, I knew we must continue as planned. Glenn agreed, telling me of Giorgio's excitement
that the group was coming from Chicago, bringing a new, young energy to the studio. The other
participating artists agreed we should continue forward. We would dedicate the experience and the
future exhibitions of Progetto Milano to this great man. Glen and I agreed that his spirit would be with us.
Giorgio Upiglio had many talented people around him, but now, with his passing the leadership of the
shop fell to Monia Pavone.
She is from Pescara and has worked with Georgio since 1994.……… Monia is a very talented printer in her
own right and very quickly established her expertise and guidance with the group. We relied on her heavily
and she constantly informed us as to the subtle attention to detail that was required to execute a high
Three months after our first conversations, and only a week after Upiglio's dying;
October 21 2013, five artists: three from Chicago and two from Milan, began making work. Some did copper
plate etchings, some dry-point etchings.
The spirit of Giorgio Upiglio was with us, and this work is dedicated to him.