Pecci Center presents Eccentrica, the new permanent collection: from Lucio Fontana to Chiara Fumai

From May 6, 2023, the Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art in Prato presents "Eccentrica," the new permanent collection, and the first solo exhibition in an Italian public institution by photographer Lina Pallotta.

Starting May 6, 2023, the Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art in Prato presents Eccentrica. The Collections of the Pecci Center: an itinerary that reinterprets the works collected by the Center, selecting more than fifty from the approximately 1,200 acquired or donated from 1988 to the present. Among the great artists in the collection are Lucio Fontana, Alighiero Boetti, Andy Warhol, gerhard Richter, Jannis Kounellis, Monica Bonvicini, and Chiara Fumai.

For the first time, a wing of the exhibition spaces, theNio Great Wing, is permanently dedicated to the presentation of the collections. Studio Formafantasma signs the display project, according to criteria of sustainability and accessibility, themes that inspire the artistic direction action in the Center’s proposal.

“For the Pecci Center a new era opens today, under the banner of inclusion and accessibility. Bringing the collection back to the center of the museum means restoring value to a place that wants to be, in the first instance, a space open to the community as well as a reference point of contemporary art for the entire country as well as internationally. A collection that will continue to be enriched and that, as of today, contributes to enhancing the great artistic-cultural offer of the Center,” said Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, president of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in Tuscany.

Also opening at the Pecci Center on May 6 is the first solo exhibition in an Italian public institution by photographer Lina Pallotta. On view through Oct. 15, 2023, the exhibition Volevo vedermi negli occhi is curated by Michele Bertolino and Elena Magini and presents a selection of photographs from the Porpora project, taken of trans activist Porpora Marcasciano beginning in 1990. Nearly eighty photographs move through space now as wall pages, now as self-supporting structures, enhancing the confidence of the personal, elusive, and transformative narrative of the existing. The images are displayed as bodies, in their size and positioning, which sees them leaning and supporting one another. They trace the ballet of a life, affections and scars, noting the excited rhythms and suspended silences. In the exhibition, the confidence of the personal, elusive and transformative narrative of existing makes room. A journey that is both individual gesture and collective affirmation, continuous remaking of the self and precariousness, an “indefinite, infinite, movementist transit,” as Marcasciano declares.

"Eccentric. ThePecci Center’ s Collections is the permanent display of collections in a wing of the Center that returns to the community the history and heritage of one of the country’s most important institutions. An institution that has been promoting contemporary culture for thirty-five years, as evidenced by the exhibition “Lina Pallotta. I wanted to see myself in the eyes,” says Stefano Collicelli Cagol, director of the Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art. “With Eccentrica, Italian museography is back in the spotlight with a formidable example of the ’art of presenting’ works to the public. Design studio Formafantasma signs off on the design of the Center’s collection, reactivating a prestigious tradition of architects and designers who have dedicated themselves to museum interiors. Compared to the past, however, it is a contemporary art museum that has, for the first time, a signed exhibition design. Eccentrica is, therefore, an extraordinary and unexpected journey designed with sustainability, accessibility and education in mind.”

Why Eccentric? It is a word that refers to placing oneself outside the center. Close to the highway exit, the Pecci Center’s location is at a junction and transit point. Its collections return a variety of artistic productions that open eccentric paths between disciplines, contaminating discourses and practices. Eccentrica aims to celebrate this potential through an installation that draws its strength from temporal and spatial short-circuits between works and archival materials.

Since its inception, the Center’s collecting activities have been intended to bear witness to the institution’s history and its commitment to promoting and disseminating contemporary culture. With the support of business, the collections have been formed in response to exhibitions, bequests from private individuals, and the choices of directors. This constitutive heterogeneity defines the eccentric nature of the Pecci Center and reveals all its strength today, extirpating the museum from the impossible task of representing the history of contemporary art in an all-encompassing way or confining it to the representation of individual movements. However, it also reveals its limitations, such as a predilection for a specific geographic area (Europe, the United States, the former Soviet Union) and for a largely “male” line of artistic creation, a habit that calls for a change of pace.

The path of Eccentrica is divided into four sections:

The Center in a Room, consisting of a series of large-scale works collected over the years of the Pecci Center’s activities as evidence of the experimentation with various materials enacted by women artists;

The cut is a time machine that through the work of Lucio Fontana, like a time machine, catapults us to the past, from the collective trauma of World War II to the feminist struggles of the 1970s;

Italia Novanta, a decade that is to be deciphered not only through the events of that period but also through the works of the women artists who inhabit this section;

Futuro Radicale, on the other hand, houses works of radical architecture, a field of research collected and studied at the Pecci Center since its inception, a springboard for future development in the digital world of the institution and its collection.

A lighting system, specially designed for the permanent installation, makes the works more legible. The route constitutes a new possibility of artistic experience, as well as an iconic architectural space. Eccentrica also wants to be an educational tool through paths between different disciplines designed for schools, universities, businesses, and people who are passionate or even simply curious about art. The new layout offers anarea dedicated to events, immersed among the masterpieces of the collections in the first section and a series of shelves all along the path to accommodate materials, which are intended to make the experience of enjoying the works and documents inclusive. A significant intervention, as part of a project financed with Pnrr funds, made possible thanks to a co-design with the ASL and other associations in the area, such as the Italian Union of the Blind and the National Board for the Deaf.

Finally, a system of fabric walls characterizes the exhibit, which testifies to the presence of the textile sector as a traditional industrial culture in the Prato district.

Artists on display: Vito Acconci, Archizoom, Stefano Arienti, Massimo Bartolini, Mirella Bentivoglio, Edo Bertoglio, Alighiero Boetti, Monica Bonvicini, Giulia Cenci, Daniela De Lorenzo, Sylvie Fleury, Lucio Fontana, Chiara Fumai, Marco Gastini, Nan Goldin, Dmitri Gutov, Ilya Kabakov, Anish Kapoor, Kinkaleri, Jannis Kounellis, Ketty La Rocca, Nanda Lanfranco, Paul Etienne Lincoln, Jacques Lipchitz, Francesco Lo Savio, Lucia Marcucci, Silvia Mejía, Verita Monselles, Liliana Moro, Robert Morris, Mimmo Paladino, Gianni Pettena, Gerhard Richter, Julian Schnabel, Superstudio, Francesco Torrini, UFO, VALIE EXPORT, Andy Warhol.

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Image: Eccentrica installation. Photo by Marco Cappelletti.

Pecci Center presents Eccentrica, the new permanent collection: from Lucio Fontana to Chiara Fumai
Pecci Center presents Eccentrica, the new permanent collection: from Lucio Fontana to Chiara Fumai

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