Gianni and I both felt we had known Giacomo Balla personally. In reality, our ‘Balstory’ began in October 1986 when I arrived by chance but with a happy intuition in a small art gallery in Rome, which was holding a retrospective of works belonging to the Balla family. On that occasion, I had my first Futurist conversion on the road to Damascus and my husband, Gianni Cigna, gave me most of the works on show.
This is how the first nucleus of the collection was created, and how our friendship with Luce and Elica Balla, the painter’s daughters, arose. It was they who acquainted us with their ‘father’in an almost tangible manner, not only from the point of view of the great painterly genius of this century, but also as a poet dedicated wholly to his art research in light, movement, mood. We have bought many works directly from the Balla girls, as we affectionately dubbed the two elderly ladies.
In the last years of his life, my husband Gianni organised the first exhibition of the Biagiotti Cigna collection in the prestigious Pushkin Museum in Moscow in July 1996, shortly before an incurable disease struck down his tempered fighting spirit. His five daughters and I have, through the donation to the Fondazione Biagiotti Cigna, wished to continue to bear witness to Gianni’s passion for beauty, his patronage, and the consolation that Balla’s art had brought him during his suffering.
Memories and affections that I have continued to maintain and promote through further personal acquisitions of works by Giacomo Balla, a brilliant seeker and unstoppable evolutionist, a “Futurist Genius” and father of Italian 20th-century design.
I consider “doing fashion” to be a movement of behavourial art to which I feel I have made and continue to make a passionate contribution through my own activity as researcher and enthusiastic collector of art.