Atelier Brancusi

This place was on my “must see” list for a while. Finally, I visited Centre Pompidou’s Atelier Brancusi – a standalone pavillon dedicated to Constantin Brancusi‘s work. Born in Romania in 1876, Brancusi lived and worked in Paris from 1904 until his death in 1957, and this is where he produced most of his forever-inspiring work. In his will, he bequeathed his entire studio to the French state. Brancusi considered the relationship between sculptures and the space they occupied to be of crucial importance. In the 1910s, by laying sculptures out in a close spatial relationship, he created new works within the studio which he called “mobile groups“, stressing the importance of the connections between the works themselves and the possibilities of each for moving around within the group. In the next decades, the studio became an exhibition space for his work, and a work of art in its own right: a body consisting of cells that all generated each other. This experience of looking from within the studio at each of the sculptures, thus perceiving a group of spatial relationships, led Brancusi to revise their positions every day to achieve the unity he felt most apposite.At the end of his life, Brancusi stopped creating sculptures and focused solely on their relationship within the studio. This proximity became so fundamental that the artist no longer wanted to exhibit, and when he sold a work, he replaced it with plaster copy so as not to destroy the unity of the group. The present reconstruction, built by the architect Renzo Piano, is presented as a museum space containing the studio. Piano’s problem lay in making the space open to the public while respecting the artist’s wishes. While the architect did not attempt to recreate the intimacy of the original, he preserved the idea of a protected, interiorised space where visitors are isolated from the street and the piazza, in particular by an enclosed garden, from which part of the studio can be seen through a glass wall. I’ve spent there about 30 minutes, trying to absorb as much as possible with my eyes. And I went out feeling as relaxed as after a lovely spa.

Photos of the exhibition by Edward Kanarecki.

(P.S. If you are inspired by my Parisian coverage, I’m really happy about, but please have in mind that now isn’t a safe time for any sorts of travelling. Stay at home!)

Fondation Maeght / Côte d’Azur

Visiting this place has always been my dream. Fondation Maeght is France’s most important private art foundation and among the world-leading cultural institutions. It was created by Aimé and Marguerite Maeght, a visionary couple of publishers and art dealers, who represented and were friends with some of the most important artists of the 20th century, including Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, Georges Braque, Alberto Giacometti, Marc Chagall and many others. The Maeght Foundation was inaugurated back in 1964 and instantly became the new art mecca. Located near the famous village of Saint-Paul de Vence the foundation is situated in the incredible architectural complex designed by Josep Lluís Sert. Painters and sculptors worked in collaboration with the Catalan architect to create a place where art, nature and architecture blend in perfect harmony. The Foundation’s highlights include the Giacometti courtyard (remember Louis Vuitton’s resort 2019 collection? It was staged right here!), featuring an exceptional ensemble of sculptures by the Swiss artist, the Miró labyrinth, a whimsical sculpture garden by the Catalan artist, monumental mural mosaics by Marc Chagall and Pierre Tal Coat, a pool designed by Georges Braque as well as a mechanical fountain designed by Pol Bury. Visitors can also enjoy the sculpture garden, with a rotating selection of works by Calder, Takis, Miro, Arp and other, two rooftop terraces with spectacular views, exhibition galleries hosting temporary exhibition as well as selected works from the permanent collection, a consecrated chapel and a library. Looking back at the photos I took there, I still can feel this unique combination of nature and silence meeting some of my all time favourite artists (that created the appealing aura of Côte d’Azur).

All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Fondazione Prada, Love You.

Hello in 2020! Just returned from the holidays and I really can’t wait to share with you all the places I’ve visited. Plus, the men’s fashion month has started in London, so be prepared for lots of newness in the first days of the decade! Which, by the way, took off with far too many sad events globally… this might be absolutely out of context, but if you mind and can, please donate a dollar or two (or more!) here to help Australia’s wildlife that’s suffering due to the hazardous fires. Or choose any other Australia-focused organisation (like Salvation Army and Red Cross) that will help the ones in need. It’s really time to take action (one of my New Year’s resolutions, by the way).

Back to the post’s topic. For the starter, Fondazione Prada in Milan. It was my second time here, and I love this place as much as I did a few years ago (here‘s a post from 2015 feauturing the pernament exhibition). The creator of Fondazione is, as the name suggests, Miuccia Prada, whose love for art is as strong as for fashion. Designed by Rem Koolhaas, the museum is built on the grounds of a former distillery. Throughout the time it expanded (the newest addition is the “Torre” – keep reading for more) and well rooted into Milan’s art landscape. The biggest reason behind visiting Fondazione Prada again – and Milan in general! – was the current exhibition: “Il sarcofago di Spitzmaus e altri tesori” (Spitzmaus Mummy in a Coffin and Other Treasures) conceived by Wes Anderson and Juman Malouf. Organized in collaboration with the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, the exhibition features 538 artworks and objects selected by the renowned film director and illustrator-writer from 12 collections of the Kunsthistorisches Museum and from 11 departments of the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna. Before taking a look at the photos I took there, let me tell you: it was an incredible experience.

The exhibition explores the reasons behind the decision to create a collection and the ways in which it is housed, presented and experienced. Looking back to the past and drawing inspiration on the model of the Wunderkammer, the exhibition challenges traditional museum canons, proposing new relations between the institutions and their collections, and between their professional figures and their public. The choice of exhibited works, based on a non-academic, interdisciplinary approach, not only illustrates Anderson and Malouf’s deep knowledge of the two museums, but also reveals unexpected parallels and resonances between the works included in the project and the creative universes of the two artists.The exhibition narrative is formed by groups of works: from green objects to portraits of children, from miniatures to timepieces, from boxes to wooden objects, from portraits of noblemen and common people to natural subjects like the garden as well as meteorites and animals presented as scientific exhibits or artistic depictions.

Spitzmaus Mummy in a Coffin and Other Treasures” was presented at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna from November 2018 to April 2019. The Milan exhibition is a second version with a larger display area and a greater number of exhibits. The original layout of rooms and vitrines, conceived by the two artist-curators with Itai Margula as a treasure chest, has been transported to the exhibition space of Fondazione Prada as a ready-made. The exhibition extends across the ground floor of the Podium to create a setting inspired by the Italian garden, with the presence of elements evoking hedges and allegorical pavilions typical of Renaissance garden. On view until the 13th of January!

Now, time for the rest of Fondazione Prada…

Bar Luce is probably the only museum cafeteria that sparks so many emotions. The place was conceived by Wes Anderson (those pastel colour combinations are unmistakably him) as “a space for real life with numerous good spots for eating, drinking, talking, reading, etc. While I do think it would make a pretty good movie set, I think it would be an even better place to write a movie. I tried to make it a bar I would want to spend my own non-fictional afternoons in.” Delicious coffee and delightful marzipan cakes from Prada’s Marchesi 1824 patisserie (more on this soon!) are served here everday. Be aware of the lines!

Project Atlas emerged from a dialogue between Miuccia Prada and Germano Celant and is exhibited at the Torre. It hosts works from the Prada Collection displayed in a sequence of environments incorporating solos and confrontations, created through assonances or contrasts, between artists such as Carla Accardi and Jeff Koons, Walter De Maria, Michael Heizer and Pino Pascali, William N. Copley and Damien Hirst, John Baldessari (R.I.P.) and Carsten Höller (the upside down mushroom room!). The group of exhibited artworks, realized between 1960 and 2016, represents a possible mapping of the ideas and visions which have guided the creation of the collection and the collaborations with the artists that have contributed to the activities of the foundation throughout the years. Atlas therefore traces an evolving path between the personal and the institutional, open to temporary and thematic interventions, special projects and events, with possible integrations from other collections and institutions.

Other than Atlas and Podium spaces, Fondazione Prada also holds such venues as Cinema and the gold-plated Haunted Tower. This time, however, we didn’t manage to visit the latter, as there were no more tickets available. It’s the pernament collection of Robert Gober and Louise Bourgeois artworks – which we saw last time. But if you’re planning your trip here, make sure to book the tickets to every Fondazione space on-line or in advance! It’s really, really, really worth it.

Largo Isarco 2 / Milan

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All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Peter Lindbergh, Forever.

Extremely sad, sad news today: the great Peter Lindbergh passed away. Considered a pioneer in photography, he introduced a form of new realism by redefining the standards of beauty with timeless images. When I discovered the news today in the morning, I couldn’t believe it. Discovering his ouvre made me fall in love with fashion photography. The humanity and beauty he saw in people (whether the supermodels or artists or individuals who were dear to him or characters he met everyday) will live on through his work forever.