2022 AD: the contemporary era

2022 AD: the contemporary era

The boot with a thousand-year-old soul has taken the turn of contemporary art. Focus on three models of the new Latin civilization in Naples, Rome and Milan.

Italy is strata of culture, era after era. The strata of the past feed on their most recent humus. Thus, in Naples, the basements are full of ancient treasures while on the surface flourish the Baroque palaces. And, that above the roofs, a stone horse dominates the city center. A modern appearance in a thousand-year-old urbanism, it is a sculpture by trans-avant-garde artist Mimmo Paladino.

The mineral equine stands on the top of the Donnaregina Museum of Contemporary Art, known as ” MADRE “. Opened in 2005 within the walls of a former palazzohe was one of the precursors of a new generation of museums in Italy, when the public authorities became aware of the potential of current creation for the renewal of cities.

The halls of the palace have been completely redesigned for the museum, with, in particular, an orange and yellow entrance hall designed by the Frenchman Daniel Buren. But MADRE also gives pride of place to visual artists from southern Italy, such as Francesco Clemente, who installed a fresco and ceramic floors with motifs inspired by his Neapolitan childhood.

If the interior layout is resolutely avant-garde, the exterior facades have largely retained their appearance of yesteryear, in keeping with the surrounding old town.

MAXXI - National Museum of 21st Century Arts, Rome

In Rome, five years later, the MAXXI makes the opposite bet. There, the Iraqi-British star architect Zaha Hadid placed a huge gray machine in the middle of the Flaminio district, which was falling asleep a little behind its venerable ocher facades. The sensational eruption of this 21st century National Museum of Arts, which aims to be a center of life open to the city, is part of a movement to expand cultural policies beyond the eternal ultra-centre.

A UFO ? Not quite. Beneath its disruptive surroundings, the MAXXI is discreetly part of a long heritage history: its sinuous walls are built of cement concrete, a material that made the glory of Roman builders two thousand years ago. Zaha Hadid combines it with glass and steel, with a luminous result.

This setting now houses international works, partly visible in the exhibition What a Wonderful Worldvery immersive: you lie down under an aquarium designed by Carsten Höller, you lose yourself metaphorically in the labyrinth of sound pipes by Rosa Barba.

Prada Foundation, Milan

Finally, the contemporary impetus in Italy owes a great deal to private foundations. Thus, the Prada Foundationa patron of modern times, donated a museum to Milan in 2015.

On the site of a distillery reinvented as a palace of the arts – the old turret, covered with gold leaf, leaves no one indifferent – ​​this complex has breathed life into the Porta Romana district, which has since by students, companies and restaurants. The tower of the Foundation has become a Milanese emblem, almost in the same way as the Gothic Duomo.

View of the Atlas exhibition - Prada Foundation, Milan

Within its walls: an unconventional program that nevertheless rubs shoulders with Louise Bourgeois, Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst… The Prada Foundation museum has its own vision of the role of museum institutions as platforms for analyzing creation. Nice example, the multimedia installation The Studio of Orpheusimagined by Jean-Luc Godard, reproduces a production studio from the personal objects of the master of the New Wave – viewing screens, carpets, armchairs… A life-size reflection on the place of the work of the artist director behind his work .

Prada Foundation Restaurant, Milan

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