La Fondazione Prada, in Milan, Italy, shows just an“Antipasti” before the construction of the Tower
Since 1993, Fondazione Prada presents its collection of art through special projects in Venice, Milan, London, Tokyo or Paris. In 2011, a wonderful Venetian Palazzo, Ca’ Corner Della Regina overlooking the grand canal, became the headquarter of Prada’s cultural adventure, and it continues with a brand new building settled southeast of Milan.
Initially a distillery, the ensemble has been re-created by architecture firm OMA, led by Rem Koolhaas. The result fits perfectly with the architecture of the city of Milan. It looks disparate with different styles though it’s organized, it is austere and ultra-minimalist though efficient.
However the “Bar Luce” is very warm and welcoming with its decoration designed by film director Wes Andersonis which recreates the atmosphere of a typical Milanese cafè.
We obviously see different aesthetic sources of inspiration.
One, of course, is from the Bauhaus for the same pragmatism and coldness.
The other reference is from de Chirico with the windows and perspectives (see left).
Also, the gold uses to cover one building echoes the background of many “Madonna with a child’s” paintings that flourished for centuries in Italy.
THE ART ON DISPLAY
The whole curatorial program was guided by one unique question:
What is a cultural institution for? We embrace the idea that culture is deeply useful and necessary as well as attractive and engaging. Culture should help us with oour everyday lives, and understand how we, and the world, are changing. This assumption will be the key for the Fondazione’s future activities”
This is why they partitioned the Fondazione into permanent exhibitions and temporary:
ROBERT GOBER, LOUISE BOURGEOIS HAUNTED HOUSE
This is the famous Four stories building all covered with gold that hosts permanently four works by Robert Gober and Two by Louis Bourgeois. The inside, all made with concrete is composed by some sort of prison cells filled with wonderful artworks. The two artists work perfectly all together despite the facts that collectors know very well those artists and there’s no surprise and acknowledgment for them here.
PROCESSO GROTESCO (Grotesque Process) BY THOMAS DEMAND
This is another permanent exhibition by Thomas Demand, from 2006. It is a set of materials and installation to show the whole process of creation that leads to the final Black and White photography.
Thomas Demand’s specificity is to reconstruct, with cardboard, papers, scenes he finds in images taken from various media sources. For that installation Processo Grotesco he used a postcard of a grotto in Majorca and used 30 tons of gray cardboard. Despite the phenomenal process, this is absolutely not interesting because the final project, the photograph, contains no soul, nothing we, as viewer, can catch for ourself. Very grotesco indeed…
Through January 10th, 2016
That first temporary exhibition was as important as the first lines of a book. That”incipit” had to be the best to show the path for the other exhibitions to come. “an Introduction” emerged from the dialog between Miuccia Prada and famous Italian curator Germano Celant. No doubt Mr Celant had to discuss a lot to convince Miss Prada. Fashion doesn’t lead necessarily to knowing how to curate a show with contemporary art….
The exhibition was unbalanced between the way paintings were shown and sculpture.
Paintings looked like more an accumulation than an educational installation of art.We do see some good paintings, but we don’t see exactly any curatorial intention. What was the purpose below?
And last but not least at South aisle, it was always delightful to see wonderful unique Swedish artist, Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg were exhibiting “the Potato” -2008- They shown Three of their famous/hilarious/moving clay animations:
Through October, 10th, 2015
That North aisle is a long and wide corridor interrupted by wide transverse panels made with concrete.
On each side of a panel paintings are hanged. The very first is covered with a remarkable painting by Venice artist, John Baldessari.
Through January 10th, 2016
The artist to remember is Damien Hirst with “Lost Love – 2000” a fish tank sculpture installed within the huge high ceilings of the building
A mix of good and bad feelings came out from that visit. First of all, it’s always good to see the birth of a new place dedicated to the arts. However, it was a bit disappointing because there was not a lot to look at (Two buildings were on hold at that time). I saw a lot of international artists we see all the times in Art Fairs, Museum, Galleries and Arts Fairs and Museum… again and again…
Concerning the buildings, the plus was an excellent lighting of the art to show it at its best. The only restriction I would do is the heaviness of the constructions; in all the buildings, the walls are too thick which gives the claustrophobic feel of moving through a bunker..
What I saw was just “antipasti”- an appetizer in Italian- because a huge tower “La Torre” of five floors is being constructed to complete the foundation. And considering the importance of their collection of art, we will have a lot more to see which makes very good reasons to come to Milano again.
Los Angeles, September 22, 2015
After a visit in Milano, September 1st, 2015