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ITALY. "Small Utopia: Ars Multiplicata" curated by Germano Celant on view at Fondazione Prada
31/07/2012 10:31:01

The exhibition “The Small Utopia. Ars Multiplicata,” curated by Germano Celant, is being presented by the Fondazione Prada at Ca’ Corner della Regina in Venice.

The title is a reference to the desire, born at the beginning of the 20th century and pursued into the 1970s, to encourage the spread of art in society through the multiplication of objects, experimenting with unprecedented aesthetic and social uses for them.

On the ground floor and the first mezzanine, the exhibition explores the different media in which the boundaries of works dissolve, from artist’s books to magazines, from experimental films to radio. These specific territories are divided into various sections located in different rooms: three are devoted to books and magazines; one examines the history of experimental cinema; one delves into vocal performance, recorded sound and radio; and one is entirely dedicated to artist’s recordings from the 1950s to the 1970s.

The central section of the exhibition, displayed on the second floor and in the second mezzanine, provides a historical overview of the transformation of the idea of uniqueness in art and its perception. This section includes over six hundred objects of design, ceramics, glassware, textiles, toys and editions of artist’s originals and multiples. It is an adventure marked by the emergence of new technological realities in which all the principal movements and schools played a part, from Italian Futurism to Russian Constructivism and Bauhaus, from Neoplasticism to Surrealism, reaching through Nouveaux Réalistes, Op Art and the radical approach of the Fluxus artists the great explosion of ars multiplicata brought about by Pop Art, promoter of a true “supermarket” of the artistic object.

In view of the complexity of The Small Utopia, the broad span of time covered and the vast numbers of themes tackled, the Fondazione Prada delegated the investigation of some specific areas to the invaluable collaboration of international museums and experienced specialist curators, as had already been done at Ca’ Corner in 2011.

In particular, The Museum of Modern Art in New York lends a selection of works from the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection given to the museum in 2008, while the Research Center for Artist’s Publications of the Museum Weserburg in Bremen and its director Anne Thurmann-Jajes have been given the responsibility for the section devoted to artist’s books and magazines as a paradigm of artistic interaction in the new forms of art in the sixties.

Among the various media, Antonio Somaini curates, with the collaboration of Marie Rebecchi, two rooms devoted to the history of the experimental film and the forays made by artists into the fields of vocal performance, recorded sound and radio broadcasting, while we can thank the expertise of Guy Schraenen for the detailed section devoted entirely to vinyl disks from the fifties.

On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the first Fluxus festival in Europe (1962), Gianni Emilio Simonetti will organize the programming of Fluxus performances and concerts, repeated at intervals from September to November.

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visual arts


mixed media











contemporary art

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