Ago, Filo e Nodo (Needle, Thread, and Knot)

Piazzale Cadorna, Milan, Italy
Commissioned by Comune di Milano (City of Milan)

Brushed stainless steel and fiber-reinforced plastic; painted with polyester gelcoat and polyurethane enamel
Eleven elements in an area approximately 123 ft. (37.5 m) long x 65 ft. 7 in. (20 m) wide;
Two elements, needle and thread:
59 ft. (18 m) high x 50 3/8 in. (128 cm) diameter
knot: 19 ft. (5.8 m) long x 19 11/16 in. (50 cm) diameter

Installed January 2000

Ago, Filo e Nodo, 2000 Ago, Filo e Nodo, 2000 Ago, Filo e Nodo, 2000

Statement by the Artists
Ago, Filo e Nodo

During a visit to the studio of the architect Gae Aulenti in Milan, we walked with her to the Piazzale Cadorna, a busy square in front of the Stazione Nord railroad station, which she was in the process of redesigning. It was a rainy afternoon. Suddenly Aulenti took up a position on the square, holding her umbrella over her head to indicate where she thought a sculpture by us might best be placed. Its footprint clearly had to be small, as the site was not far from the station's entrance.

Ago, Filo e Nodo Our concept began with the metaphor of a train as a needle and thread, its insertion into fabric compared to the train entering an underground tunnel. Trying this image on the site, we saw that the needle could serve as the monolithic shape necessitated by the suggested location, while thread coiled around the needle would provide expansive, active contours in space, flowing down from the top of the sculpture. Contributing to the rightness of the concept was the subject's reference to the fashion industry, for which Milan is known. The needle and thread might be seen as a paraphrase, in contemporary terms, of the city's civic emblem -- a serpent coiled around a sword.
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Fabricated of gleaming stainless steel, the needle's eye engages the open dome of the nearby Sforza Castle. The needle is placed as if having just emerged from a surface and about to plunge into it again. In order to suggest the passage of the thread underground, we added a second part to the sculpture in the form of a knot at some distance from the needle to mark the imagined original point of entry. Ago, Filo e Nodo follows its own trajectory, independent of the Piazzale's overall design. The knot, about to be pulled taut, is situated, as if by chance, in one of the pools of water, oblivious to the grid of tiny spraying jets.



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