Fondazione Prada announces the launch of new Milan venue and opening exhibitions Milan, 22 January 2015 – Fondazione Prada’s new Milan venue is scheduled to open on 9 May 2015. Preview days will be held from Saturday 2 to Friday 8 May. Along with the new spaces in Milan, the Fondazione’s Venetian venue will continue to operate in the 18th century palazzo Ca’ Corner della Regina. From May and throughout summer 2015, both locations will be thematically linked by two ancient art exhibitions devised by Salvatore Settis.
The new Milan venue of the Fondazione, conceived by architecture firm OMA—led by Rem Koolhaas—expands the repertoire of spatial typologies in which art can be exhibited and shared with the public. Articulated by an architectural configuration which combines preexisting buildings with three new structures, it is the result of the transformation of a former distillery dating back to the 1910’s. Located in Largo Isarco, in the South of Milan, the compound has a gross surface area of 19,000 m2/205,000 ft2, of which 11,000 m2/118,000 ft2 is dedicated as exhibition space. The entrance building will welcome visitors to two new facilities, developed through special collaborations: a kids’ area designed by a group of students from the École nationale supérieure d'architecture de Versailles, and a bar where director Wes Anderson has recreated the typical mood of old Milan cafés.
Fondazione Prada was created in 1993 as a platform to analyze present times through the staging of contemporary art exhibitions as well as architecture, cinema and philosophy projects. Thanks to the opening of this new permanent venue, the Fondazione aims to contribute more incisively to contemporary culture, sustaining the idea that art is an effective knowledge tool. Without practicing a mere contamination between different disciplines, Fondazione Prada intends to strengthen its multidisciplinary vocation by highlighting the autonomy and specificity of each creative language. An open flexible structure—consisting of curators, writers, filmmakers and thinkers, all invited to contribute to the elaboration and realization of new projects—will guide this new course and allow to constantly reinvent the program as well as activate a restlessly evolving intellectual process.
On the occasion of the opening of its new Milan venue, Fondazione Prada will present a wide range of activities. Robert Gober and Thomas Demand will realize site-specific installations in dialogue with the industrial architecture and the new spaces in the compound. Roman Polanski will explore the cinematographic inspirations behind his artistic vision, which will translate into a new documentary and a series of film screenings. Selections of artworks from the Prada Collection will be presented in a series of thematic exhibitions. ‘Serial Classic’, in Milan, and ‘Portable Classic’, in Venice—two exhibitions curated by Salvatore Settis, in collaboration with Anna Anguissola and Davide Gasparotto—will complete the program. Both projects, whose display system has been conceived by OMA, analyze the themes of seriality and the copy in classical art and the reproduction of small-scale Greek and Roman sculptures from the Renaissance to Neoclassicism, respectively.
The exhibition ‘Serial Classic’, open in Milan from 9 May to 24 August 2015 (preview days: 2-8 May), focuses on classical sculpture and explores the ambivalent relationship between originality and imitation in Roman culture and its insistence on the circulation of multiples as an homage to Greek art. We tend to associate the idea of classical to that of uniqueness, but in no other period of western art history the creation of copies from great masterpieces of the past has been as important as in late Republican Rome and throughout the Imperial age. The exhibition comprises more than 70 artworks and opens with an in-depth analysis of lost originals and their multiple copies, represented by two particularly renowned series such as the Diskobolos and the Crouching Venus. Two other important sections are devoted to the materials and the colours of classical bronzes and marbles. The Kassel Apollo, for instance, is presented in two recent plaster casts which reproduce the original bronze surface of the lost Greek original and the colours of its Roman marble copies. Another area in the exhibition illustrates the technologies and methods used in the making of the copies, presenting two essential moments such as the creation of the plaster cast and the translation of proportions and measurements on the new block of marble. Two famous series are also featured in the exhibition, the Penelope, and the Caryatides, on the prototype of the Athenian originals from the Erechtheion.
The exhibition ‘Portable Classic’, presented in Venice from 9 May to 13 September 2015 (preview days: 5–8 May), explores the origins and functions of miniature reproductions of classical sculptures, showcasing more than 90 artworks. Both in ancient Rome and modern Europe a true ‘canon’ of sculptures was created, considered as an undisputed peak of excellence of a given subject. Their prestige was so high that, since it was almost impossible to acquire the originals, their reproductions, even on a small scale, were eagerly sought for by well-read audiences. An example of this is the Farnese Hercules, exhibited in a series of smaller-scale reproductions—measuring 20 to 150 cm—in marble, bronze and terracotta. Some classical small-scale masterpieces are presented along with Renaissance multiples, through the examples of the Ignudo della Paura and the Bathing Venus. Another section of the exhibition is devoted to important art collectors from the 1500’s. In a selection of paintings by Lorenzo Lotto, Tintoretto and Bernardino Licinio, the subjects are portrayed among classical sculptures and plaster casts from their personal collections. Starting from the emblematic cases of the Belvedere Torso and the Laocoön, the exhibition illustrates how Renaissance artists employed small-scale copies to elaborate hypotheses on the missing portions of the classical originals.