In Part, curated by Nicholas Cullinan, is staged in the Nord gallery, one of the former industrial structures originally included in the compound of Fondazione Prada.
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 paintings 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.
Once a laboratory within the former industrial complex, the galleria Sud—flowing through the Deposito’s wide spaces—hosts An Introduction: an intense exhibition project—emerged from a dialogue between Miuccia Prada and Germano Celant—alluding to a path between institutional and personal, leading to methods of research and collecting. It intertwines a study and passion for art that has taken on public and private characteristics and led to the opening of the Fondazione.
Here the interest for the aesthetic and political issues addressed by artists is compared to the knowledge and the practice of experimental and historic cultures, from the Renaissance to modernity, evolving from a basic, minimalist approach, to a complex museum display.
The sequence of spaces and the choice of artworks, installed in relation to colors and period materials, suggest an itinerary of interests and commitment. It begins with a reflection on the self then develops with a choice of visual territories connected to the artistic events of the 1960s, from New Dada to Minimal Art.
This research, and the determination to collect its testimony, has influenced the “system of life,” fostering passion and involvement with an art that questions reality. Investigation of the contemporary artistic narratives orients knowledge toward a temporal totality— with its objects and environments—from antiquity to the present day.
The translation of notions and passions into collection is documented through the quadreria: a gallery of artworks that indicates the wide-ranging oscillation of attention for art’s manifestations.
Within the Deposito, surprise endings with vehicles of diverse natures indicates a convergence between art and life, within which a dialectic between autonomy and function, artifact and product is implemented. Here art expands into daily life. Objects become instrument of a way of thinking and viewing that goes beyond tradition.
The result is a body of artworks and objects that supply information about the past, present and future of an existential adventure. They introduce an image of impassioned, committed people who have followed a route of active and radiating awareness: the reaction to the vital strength of ideas becomes the focus of a lifetime.
The spaces of the Cisterna –a preexisting building made up of three adjacent vertical structures which once contained enormous cisterns used to produce distillates– host Trittico, a dynamic display strategy devised by the Thought Council (Shumon Basar, Nicholas Cullinan, Cédric Libert).
Three carefully selected works from the Collezione Prada are hereon be installed at a time, periodically rotating.
The Trittico display initiative highlights a number of important ideas.
The first is that our experience of a work of art is always relational, and understood through other works, either from the past or from parallel times. The second idea is that a collection such as the Collezione Prada, which spans works from the 16th to 21st centuries, contains many hidden histories of interpretation that exceed orthodox accounts.
By focusing upon three works at a time, Trittico prises out unexpected patterns between seemingly dissimilar artists and their works.
Lastly, it also underlines the importance of encountering artistic works in the first person, under conditions quite different from those of a canonical museum.
Here, visitors are immersed in a tangible three-dimensionality and rarified illumination –characteristics that no technological device can yet reproduce.
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.
Order, disorder, the complexity of human affairs versus natural materials. When set into the literal framework of a cube, the contents become a system of meaning. One that is as open as it is seemingly closed.