While contemporary art installations multiply in Milan during Milan Design Week, the other months of the year also offer the opportunity to discover exhibition venues or unexpected places that house monumental works of contemporary art. These are site-specific installations, located in unexpected sites – such as a fashion showroom – or that simply contribute to enhancing the venue that hosts them, as happens with a public swimming pool…
Let’s discover them in this review, where you will find a top selection of the most interesting and curious.
“Neon Structure” by Lucio Fontana
The light installation at the Museo del Novecento is a neon structure designed by Lucio Fontana in 1951 for the ceiling of the staircase of the 9th Milan Triennale. Since 2010, this immersive environmental work has been located on the top floor of the Museo del Novecento in the so-called Fontana Room. The room offers a privileged and unexpected view of Piazza del Duomo, the beating heart of Milanese life and the urban landscape symbol of an entire city. In fact, the work is clearly visible, especially in the evening, through the large windows of the room and it imposes itself on the square, almost embracing the city.
An arabesque of fluorescent light, composed of dozens of hand-bent tubular segments, with a total length of one hundred metres, suspended by steel cables. In the 1950s the artist had used this new means of expression, neon light, as one of the most significant technical tools of the Spatial Movement (or Spatialism) of which he was a protagonist, and it was in Milan that he experimented with his own artistic language.
Discover more on Museo del Novecento news.
Piazza del Duomo, 8.
T: +39 02 88444061.
M1 (red line) and M3 (yellow line) Duomo.
Open Tues-Wed-Fri-Sat-Sun 10am-7.30pm; Thurs 10am-10.30pm.
“Ingresso nel Labirinto” by Arnaldo Pomodoro
Arnaldo Pomodoro’s environmental installation offers a highly evocative experience where art and introspection intertwine. It is a synthesis of the great Italian sculptor’s work, created over 16 years (between 1995 and 2011) and located in the underground spaces of the former Riva Calzoni, now a Fendi showroom. A magical environment inspired by the Epic of Gilgamesh (circa 2000 BC), the first epic poem in the history of mankind, engraved on eleven clay tablets in cuneiform characters. Entering through the door of the Labyrinth, which rotates on its central hinge, one passes through an evocative physical and anthropological space. The installation refers to the theme of the journey and the labyrinth as a metaphor for life and is intended as a tribute to writing and communication.
Via Solari, 35.
T: +39 02 89075394.
M2 (green line) Sant’Agostino.
Open by reservation (guided visit).
“Atlas” at Fondazione Prada
The “Atlas” project brings together installations, paintings and sculptures (created between 1960 and 2016) in a succession of spaces at the Fondazione Prada, within the Torre’s six exhibition levels. The result of a dialogue between the fashion designer and entrepreneur Miuccia Prada and the art critic Germano Celant, these masterpieces – many of which are true site-specific installations – represent in a certain sense a mapping of the ideas and visions of the artists who have contributed to the development of the Foundation’s activities: Jeff Koons, Carla Accardi, Walter De Maria, Goshka Macuga, Betye Saar, Michael Heizer, Pino Pascali, William N. Copley, Damien Hirst, John Baldessari and Carsten Höller. A project “open” to new developments, special events and possible integrations.
Discover more on Fondazione Prada.
Largo Isarco, 2.
T: +39 02 56662611.
M3 (yellow line) Lodi TIBB.
Open Wed-Fri 6pm-midnight; Sat and Sun 12am-midnight.
“The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015” by Anselm Kiefer
Pirelli HangarBicocca, in the space of the Naves, hosts a monumental installation by Anselm Kiefer, created between 2004 and 2015 and composed of 7 towers in reinforced concrete and lead elements. These constructions, each weighing 90 tons and ranging in height from 13 to 19 metres, are entitled “The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015” and form a whole with five large-scale paintings created between 2009 and 2013. The German artist was inspired by symbolic elements of Jewish culture and, fascinated by ancient civilisations that have disappeared and created monumental works, he wanted to represent man’s attempt to ascend to the divine dimension in the eternal struggle between man and nature.
Discover more on the Anselm Kiefer installation in Milan.
Via Chiese, 2.
T: +39 02 66111573.
M5 (purple line) Ponale.
Open Thurs-Sun 10.30am-8.30pm.
“Be Water by Toiletpaper” at Piscina Cozzi
Inaugurated in 1934, the Piscina Cozzi in Milan was the first indoor swimming pool in Italy, representing a remarkable example of state-of-the-art technology. The site-specific installation “Be Water” – about 10 metres high and 30 metres wide – dominates the vast interior space of the pool, blending in with its architecture. The imposing image created for the magazine “Toiletpaper” (a surreal editorial project created in 2010 by the artist Maurizio Cattelan and the photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari) becomes here a gigantic mural. The female figure depicted, with a retro-style beauty, turns her enigmatic gaze towards the viewer, arousing a perception of disorientation linked to her indecipherable state of mind. The installation created on the occasion of the Milan Design Week 2021 will remain visible until September 2022.
Discover more on the Salone del Mobile.Milano https://www.wheremilan.com/events/milano-design-week-salone-del-mobile-milano-2022, the Milan Design Week https://www.wheremilan.com/discover/annual-events/milan-design-week-salone-mobile-fuorisalone, and the Fuorisalone 2022: https://www.wheremilan.com/events/milan-design-week-the-fuorisalone-2022/
Viale Tunisia, 35.
T: +39 02 6599703.
M1 (red line) Porta Venezia.
Open Mon and Wed 7am-3pm/7pm-9pm; Tues, Thurs, Fri 7am-3pm/7pm-11pm; Sat 7am-6pm; Sun 10am-6pm.