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The Centro per l'Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci grand opening

from Annalisa Chelli - 10/10/2016

Annalisa Chelli

The Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci

The Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci was a project started in the early 1980s by Enrico Pecci, Knight of the Italian Order of Merit for Labour.

At the time, architect Italo Gamberini was appointed to design and erect the building. Since its inauguration, in 1988, the mission of the Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci has been to research all the different forms of contemporary art. As well as to draw the community to newest artistic trends, which are often seen as elitist and only suitable for a narrow, educated audience.

Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci is managed by the Pecci Foundation. It is supported by the Town of Prato and by the Tuscany Region. Since 2014, it has been directed by Fabio Cavallucci. The museum is a point of reference on a national level, since it is the only public institution devoted to Contemporary Art in Italy. The renovation of the building, by architect Maurice Nio, has given the Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci a futuristic look, which reminds one of a spaceship. The tip over the roof is there to catch the waves, that is, all new art forms and their different uses. And now, we’ll leave you to our interview with the museum director Fabio Cavallucci who has kindly agreed to answer a few questions.

The re-opening

DHG: Director Cavallucci, people in and outside of Prato cannot wait for the day of the Grand Opening of the Pecci Center, inaugurating a new branch of the museum. Would you like to briefly explain what we should expect?
Cavallucci: End of the World is the title of the opening exhibition, but it is not an, apocalyptic one. We are going to see our world, the one that is slipping out of our control and that we used to know until a few decades ago. By distancing ourselves from it. In this new branch of the museum designed by Nio Maurice, visitors will enter a building and will be hurled a few thousand years from now, in interstellar space. We will be rethinking our present as part of a whole. As part of almost endless geological eras. Another part of the exhibition will be dedicated to the present, where Chaos will be on show. It’s going to be a clash between artists from Russia, Azerbajan, Morocco, Iran. The exhibition suggests that the world has come to an end. But we can already glimpse a near future from which we can start building again.

The Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci becomes an international-level art space

D:  in the past few years, Prato has been investing a lot of energy in the effort to make our city become an internationally appealing artistic hub. At what stage of the process are we currently?
C: the commitment and the political effort that the city of Prato has shown are quite incredible. I have never seen, in Italy or anywhere else, a city so unanimously confident in choosing to give contemporary art its undivided attention. It’s a long journey, because Italy is a difficult nation for this type of thing, as it lacks a contemporary art culture. At the same time this gives Prato an opportunity. The opportunity to plunge into contemporary art even more confidently. And to be even more unique and recognizable in this sector.

D: before you became the Director of the Pecci Center, you were the Director and curator of many prestigious museums and exhibitions, both in Italy and abroad. What motivated you to become the director of this museum?
C: The Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci was and still is a very prestigious center. It has always organized excellent, high-quality initiatives. It has always been visited by an international public, including art experts. So, I am honored to be the Director of this Center.

The role of Contemporary Art

D: what is the main role of Art?
this is a good question that we should ask ourselves more often. I believe that Art today should go back to playing an important role in society. Over the years, Contemporary Art has broadened its scope, but it has based everything on a commercial system. Indeed, in the past decades Art has grown a lot thanks to private collectors and foundations. But its importance has decreased. In the past, art was not just something for collectors to buy. The Medici family were great collectors. But at the same time they were sponsors who would finance works to put in public places. So, I believe that Art should go back to being something that is closer to people. Art is didactic and above all it has the ability to anticipate the future. It is an important tool to understand what is happening and what is going to happen.

D: how big of an influence has art had on the world?
C: for example, the Mathematical view of the world originated in Art and then expanded to other fields, and even laid the foundations for Science. Or think about the Futurist movement: they anticipated modern High-Speed Trains. Carriages, at the time when the Futurists lived, were decorated with capitals and lesenes. In 1909, the design of train carriages was based on that of horse carriages. The Futurists revolutionized this aesthetic by inventing aerodynamics, a design that engineers building trains and planes only grasped decades later. Art has the ability to sense what is going to happen. The difficult part is for society to understand Art when it anticipates the future, and and appreciate it in a reasonable amount of time.

The world of contemporary Art and books

D: what is a must-read for those who would like to approach the world of contemporary art?
C: my experience is based on two things. One is meeting the artists. I was lucky enough to meet artists who really believed in what they were doing, who suffered and fought for their art, and who developed clever, strong theories. This is what allowed me to look at Contemporary Art in a different way, by entering this complex and interesting world gradually and with difficulty. However, not everybody gets this kind of chance. As for the book, I would recommend Renato Barilli’s Contemporary Art. It is still extremely compelling.

Centro per l’Arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci website.

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