Johannes Stötter and Ice R-evolution showcase symbols and ideals at MICAM Milano

Objects are not just things. Through their name, their shape, their materials, objects can encompass a rich variety of stories, concepts and references. In this way, they become symbols: they are what they are, while also being something else.

Take a shoe, for example. A shoe is a shoe, but it is also a symbol of walking, of travelling, of freedom of movement. Depicted on a sign, we know we either have to remove them or put them on. And then there’s its shape, which can symbolise luxury, elegance, craftsmanship, and even an entire industry (in thematic maps, footwear districts are marked by a shoe).

In the Bible, we discover that sandals were once used as a sign of ownership: if you threw one onto a field, or walked over it wearing sandals, you could claim possession of that field.

But then, the opposite is also true. A shoe is a shoe even when it is not; when it is only drawn, when it is gigantic or tiny, when it is made of glass or cement. You cannot wear it, but its significance remains the same.

The form changes, but the idea does not.

The ideal size is also one of the topics of the 87th Micam Milano, which has based its advertising campaign on Dante’s Paradise (after the Hell and Purgatory of the previous editions), and which, besides bringing thousands of worldwide exhibitors, buyers and visitors to Milan, has also given space to a series of artists and to their personal interpretation of the concept of “shoe”.

Some of these artists centre their works on surprising substrates, such as ice and the human body.
Johannes Stötter, for example, at his second experience at Micam Milano (and whom we interviewed at Italian Shoes last year), uses his exceptional talent as a body painter and optical illusions artist to represent footwear on female bodies, thus creating wonderful tableaux vivants capable of hypnotizing and surprising the audience into silence throughout the performance.

MICAM, Milano, Francesco Falasconi

Decidedly noisier, instead, is the approach adopted by Ice R-evolution, a performing duo comprising two ice sculptors, Michela Ciappini and Francesco Falasconi, whose spectacular use of the chainsaw raises miniature polar vortices and obtains wonderfully decorated pumps from large transparent blocks.

And what matter if the ice shoes melt and the “flesh” ones revert to human bodies. For the duration of the performance, they are actual shoes to all intents and purposes, symbolising every shoe ever made, and those that are yet to come.