Prada Foundation Milan p. 2 – the art collection

Place: Milan, Country: Italy
Fondazione Prada
Text by Riccardo Bianchini, Inexhibit
all photos © Inexhibit, 2015

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The Prada Foundation Milan, photo © Inexhibit, 2015

Prada Foundation Milan part 2 – art collection and programs
by Riccardo Bianchini, Inexhibit

As mentioned in the first part of this coverage, the Prada Foundation is committed in the promotion of many forms of modern and contemporary culture, not only painting and sculpture, but also cinema, dance, poetry, and philosophy.
Nevertheless, I will mostly focus on the foundation’s activities related to visual arts, since this is probably what occasional visitors are most interested in.

The foundation offers both permanent and temporary exhibitions of art; the diverse spaces available are suitable for artworks of different type and scale, from paintings to audiovisuals, from small works to large installations.

Not many details have been disclosed about what’s in the Fondazione Prada’s permanent collection; although we know it comprises paintings, sculptures and installations, mostly dating from the 20th and 21st century, as well as ancient handicraft and tapestries.
The temporary exhibition “An Introduction”, currently on view in the South Gallery and the in the “Deposito” hall, features a selection of 70 works from the foundation’s collection, thus shedding light on it.

“An Introduction”, curated by Germano Celant, showcases pieces by Walter de Maria, Barnett Newmann, Yves Klein, Piero Manzoni, Donald Judd, Pino Pascali, Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, Joseph Cornell, Francesco Vezzoli, Enrico Castellani, Gerhard Richter, Lucio Fontana, John Wesley, Victor Vasarely, Antoni Tàpies, Konrad Klapheck, Alberto Burri, Frank Stella, Mario Schifano, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jeff Koons, among others. The Deposito houses the giant sculpture series “The Giacometti Variations”, specially commissioned by the Fondazione Prada to John Baldessari.
On view there is also a magnificent inlaid wood “studiolo” dating back to the 15th century and a series of four 16th century tapestries woven by the Flemish artist Nicholas Karcher after cartoons by Giulio Romano.

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Exhibition “An Introduction”, installation view, left: Yves Klein “La Vague” and Piero Manzoni “Achrome”, right: Donald Judd “Untitled”, photo © Inexhibit, 2015

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Exhibition “An Introduction”, installation view, photo © Inexhibit, 2015

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Exhibition “An Introduction”, Italian “studiolo” 15th century, photo © Inexhibit, 2015

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Exhibition “An Introduction”, John Baldessari “The Giacometti Variations”, photo © Inexhibit, 2015

Another part of the collection is on exhibited in the Haunted House; here, in small rooms distributed on 4 levels, works by the French-American artist Louise Bourgeois and by sculptor Robert Gober are permanently displayed. Due to its small spaces and narrow staircase, access to the gallery is limited to a maximum of 20 visitors at a time, which in its turn makes the visit more intimate and captivating.

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Louise Bourgeois “Cell (Clothes)”, photo © Inexhibit, 2015

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Robert Gober “Untitled”, photo © Inexhibit, 2015

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Robert Gober “Creek Bed”, photo © Inexhibit, 2015

Apart from permanent exhibitions, the Fondazione Prada has a wide offer of temporary exhibitions. The “Cisterne” building, once used as storage space for brandy and whisky cisterns, usually accommodates an exhibition project entitled Trittico, conceived by Shumon Basar, Cédric Libert, Elvira Dyagani Ose, and Dieter Roelstraete, which features three major works from the Prada collection, periodically rotating. The works are selected to suggest a dialogue and cross-relations between the visitors, apparently dissimilar artists, and the imposing architecture of the cistern building.

At the time of my visit in November 2015, the three pieces on view were Pinne di Pescecane (1966) by Pino Pascali,  Lost Love (2000) by Damian Hirst and Untitled (2002) by Tom Friedman, each installed in one of the three large rooms of the building.

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Exhibition “Trittico”, Pino Pascali “Pinne di Pescecane”, photo © Inexhibit, 2015

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Exhibition “Trittico”, Damien Hirst “Lost Love”, photos © Inexhibit, 2015

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Exhibition “Trittico”, Tom Friedman “Untitled”, photo © Inexhibit, 2015

Along with art exhibitions, the Prada Foundation in Milan organizes guided tours, talks, special programs, interviews, and is particularly committed in film screenings which in the last year included special events dedicated to Italian, Russian and Asian cinema from the 30s to the 70s, and to the work of Roman Polanski.


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