Caffè Italia, poetry on paper

Issue number 2 of Johanna Ekmark’s editorial project is out. An evocative journey across craftsmanship and food

16-04-2018

Copies of issue number two of Caffè Italia, available online from caffeitalia.se, for 33 euros. Swedish photo-reporter Johanna Ekmark, who’s lived in Italy for over 30 years now, curates the project 

We’ve waited almost two years, and finally it’s here. Issue number two of Caffè Italia is available as of a few days ago. It’s one of the most interesting projects around, because it focuses on stories of great Italian craftsmanship (not just food) escaping every possible stereotype. 

It’s been a while since the first issue, because Swedish photo-reporter and Italian-adoptee Johanna Ekmark, the creator of the project, gave herself a very hard mission to follow: these are not happy times for the editorial industry, that’s a known fact, and the craftsmanship of the project requires patience and time which must erode the time spent on daily duties. We had already analysed these problems and opportunities with the curator when the first issue was out, and she stresses them elegantly in her editorial: «Even great artisans need 10,000 hours to perfect their skills».

Chapter two makes as many steps further compared to the initial “book” (indeed, it is a book, not a magazine). The concepts on which it is based, are finely summed up in the project’s headline: “Inspiration, culture, encounters, nature, phenomena, coffee, human capital, food, art, travel, rarities, music, craftsmanship”.

The creator and curator of Caffè Italia, Johanna Ekmark, with Corrado and Nives Assenza

The creator and curator of Caffè ItaliaJohanna Ekmark, with Corrado and Nives Assenza

Many of these features are clear even before reading: the porous and fragrant paper is the result of the joint efforts of the extraordinary Italian printers at Trifolio and of Swedish paper mill Arctic Papers. The aroma oozing when flicking through the pages will thrill paper fetishists.

THE STORIES. The man peeking from the cover underneath a bell is Massimo Lunardon, glass blower and artist (Artis(t)an, is the fine title) in Fara, in the province of Vicenza. A fantastic story of men and reams, portrayed through Ekmark’s images (she’s the author of all the photos in the issue) and the words of Lara Andersson.

The opening feature, instead, is a passionate pamphlet by Corrado Assenza. It’s simply titled “Sicilian Oranges” and is an unprecedented ode to this citrus fruit, an icon of the island: «Johanna and I», says the pastry chef from Noto, «were looking for the perfect orange grove. A place that in one shot, in the best season, in just one fragment, and from the point of view of the orange, could present it in its Sicilian micro-macrocosm». Mission accomplished.

In the following pages, they analyse the past and present universe of the Etruscans: archaeology, craftsmanship, and signs of a civilization that keeps retaining its charm. Hence there’s Tuscan bread, an emblem evocatively depicted by writer Giulia Scarpaleggia (julskitchen on instagram). And the enlightened members of the Humanity of Wine, the fruit of the passionate work from vineyard to bottle of Giovanna Tiezzi and Stefano Borsa in Tuscany, Federico Graziani and Salvo Foti again in Sicily, Josko Gravner in Friuli, Paolo Brunello in Veneto.

Finally, the issue ends with “Fenomenologia della Piazza” [Phenomenology of the Piazza] («In piazzas, there’s Italy, the ideal statics of the country», says Marco Ciriello in the only content in Italian in issue two) and “La Barcolana”, the famous regatta in Trieste. Poetry in images and words.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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