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FONDAZIONE PRADA, the new permanent Milan Venue


The new Milan venue of Fondazione Prada opened to the public on Saturday 9 May 2015. In conjunction with the Milan spaces, the Fondazione venetian outpost will continue to operate in the 18th century palazzo Ca’ Corner della Regina, where a new exhibition launched on the same date.

The architectural project developed by OMA, led by Rem Koolhaas, expands the repertoire of spatial typologies in which art can be exhibited and shared with the public. Characterized by an articulated architectural configuration which combines seven existing buildings with three new structures (Podium, Cinema and Torre), the new venue is the result of the transformation of a distillery dating back to the 1910’s.

In the project conceived by OMA, two conditions coexist: preservation and the creation of a new architecture which, although separate, confront each other in a state of permanent interaction. Located in Largo Isarco, in the south of Milan, the compound develops on an overall surface of 19.000 m2/205,000 ft2.

Torre (tower), currently undergoing construction work, will be open to the public at a later stage. Fondazione Prada was created in 1993 as an outpost to analyze present times through the staging of contemporary art exhibitions as well as architecture, cinema and philosophy projects. The diversity of the new spaces has become the incentive to develop an experimental, stimulating program in which different languages and disciplines, though independent from each other, coexist in order and activate an ever-changing evolving intellectual process.

Various interests and researches are pursued and examined through a flexible approach, founded on the idea that culture is an effective knowledge and learning tool. Fondazione Prada relies on an open structure, whose program is the result of a confrontation between the curatorial departments of the Fondazione, coordinated by Astrid Welter, Mario Mainetti and Alessia Salerno, the Thought Council, a group whose members will vary over time and founded by Shumon Basar, Nicholas Cullinan and Cédric Libert, soon to be joined by Elvira Dyangani Ose and Dieter Roelstraete in May, the Presidents Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli and the artistic and scientific Superintendent Germano Celant.

The exhibitions ‘Serial Classic’ (Milan, 9 May – 24 August, 2015) and ‘Portable Classic’ (Venice, 9 May – 13 September, 2015) — conceived by Salvatore Settis — ideally join the two venues of the Fondazione throughout the summer. The two exhibition projects, for which OMA has designed the display, analyze the themes of seriality and the copy in classical art and of the reproduction of Greek-Roman statuary on a small scale from the Renaissance to Neoclassicism, respectively.

Serial Classic 1

At the Milan venue of the Fondazione, three different exhibition projects which use the Collezione Prada as a research and investigation tool are presented. The Sud gallery and part of the Deposito, the imposing warehouse located on the west limit of the compound, host ‘An Introduction’ (9 May 2015 – 10 January 2016), an exhibition showcasing more than 70 works. Intertwining research and a passion for art which has acquired both a private a public status, the curiosity, impulses and aspirations which have contributed to the creation of the collection and led to the opening of a foundation are explored. The exhibition starts in the 1970’s artistic realm, from New Dada to Minimal art, with works by Walter De Maria, Yves Klein, Piero Manzoni, Donald Judd and Barnett Newman. It testifies a love for socially engaged, critical art with works by Pino Pascali and Edward Kienholz.

An Introduction 1

It proceeds with a studiolo dating back to the end of the 15th century, as a symbol of the continuity of knowledge through history. A quadreria including works by various artists, from William N. Copley to Lucio Fontana, from Mario Schifano to Jeff Koons, from Gerhard Richter to Goshka Macuga, documents the transformation of personal notions and passions into a collection animated by a multiplicity of artistic and cultural interests which encompass contemporary times. The exhibition ends with a series of ‘artists’ cars’, realized by Elmgreen & Dragset, Carsten Höller & Rosemarie Trockel, Tobias Rehberger and Sarah Lucas among others, an immersion into a dimension where life is intertwined with the artists’ personal and artistic contributions, toward a more extended horizon represented by the activities of the Fondazione.

An Introduction 8

Exhibition ‘In Part’, curated by Nicholas Cullinan, is staged in the Nord gallery, one of the former industrial structures originally included in the compound. Built around a thematic group of works selected from the collection, the exhibition explores the idea of the fragmented body in the sculptures of Lucio Fontana and Pino Pascali, through the representation of ruins in the work of John Baldessari, David Hockney and Francesco Vezzoli, in the use of the photographic close-up to crop the body in the paintings of William Copley, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Domenico Gnoli, in the collaged and defaced portraits of Llyn Foulkes, in the partial silhouettes of Yves Klein and in the superimposition of figures in the painting of Francis Picabia. What all these works have in common is the concept of the synecdoche, or the use of the part to refer to an absent whole. Additional works by Charles Atlas, Bruce Nauman, Robert Rauschenberg, Man Ray and Richard Serra, on loan from international museums and private collections and some not exhibited publicly before, round out this investigation of the tension between the part and the whole.

In Part 3

The spaces of the Cisterna, a preexisting building made up of three adjacent vertical structures, host ‘Trittico’. The project, conceived by the Thought Council, presents three works from the collection on a rotational basis, juxtaposed to create an interplay of formal cross-references, conceptual affinities and exceptional concentration. The first selection for ‘Trittico’ includes Case II (1968) by Eva Hesse, Lost Love (2000) by Damien Hirst, and 1 metro cubo di terra (1967) by Pino Pascali, three works that all develop minimalistic geometries by associating objects and elements of nature with the shape of the cube.

Trittico 1

The Cinema hosts a project titled ‘Roman Polanski: My Inspirations’. In this documentary conceived by Roman Polanski for Fondazione Prada and directed by Laurent Bouzerau, the sources of inspiration behind Polanski’s cinematographic work are retraced by analyzing some of the films that have most influenced him, such as Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane (1941), David Lean’s Great Expectations (1946), Carol Reed’s Odd Man Out (1947), Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet (1948), Vittorio de Sica’s The bicycle thieves (1948) and Federico Fellini’s 8 ½ (1963). These six films, along with a selection of 15 motion pictures by Polanski, will be screened in a dedicated film festival every Friday and Saturday from 22 May to 25 July 2015.