MORPHEUS’ SPACES – preface by Sandra benvenuti

Franco Donaggio’s studio is based in a central, effervescent district of the city of Milan. On those days in the area overlooking the artist’s studio a real urban revolution actually started. In fact, this area reinvents itself, new businesses are established, and from a trade center it rapidly turns into one of the trendiest places in town. The construction of the building called “Bosco verticale” – designed by the architect Stefano Boeri – is eventually started as well as many other important building complexes, including the new headquarters of the Lombardy Region Palace.
Donaggio’s working studio – which he calls “the think tank” – is also a place for meetings and conviviality.
Here suppers are organized with artists and friends, exhibitions and roundtables are set up with experts and art lovers. One day a gallery owner calls in and invites Franco to produce some photographs about the female nude for an editorial project together with other preeminent artists. It is a new theme for Franco and he is intrigued. The gallery owner challenges Donaggio and he accepts enthusiastically.
As usual, the author begins with the phase of pre-visualization of the project. He plans situations and postures and prepares sketches in pencil illustrating how to photograph the subject and in which location to place it. He works with two professional models: Arianna Grimoldi and Giovanna Lacedra and both establish a perfect relationship with him.
The Woman is a fundamental character for Donaggio: not only is she a muse but also a life giver.
The artist often uses the expression: The woman is a house to man.
So planning to put the female figure into an urban environment which is about to come to life – is an immediate natural choice. The author idealizes the woman as a life creator; she symbolizes the savior in a context defined by the author as a world consumed by the oblivion of human values. Donaggio’s woman is fearless, ascetic and mysterious.
The first image realized for the project The spaces of Morpheus, well describes the traits of the whole corpus of works; she represents a courageous amazon leading a huge Cerberus-ship greedy for waves; holding the long leather straps tied at the top of the prow, she drives among restless breakers through the surreal worlds of the artist.