For the last two decades, Fondazione Prada’s activities have analyzed intentions and relevance through an evolution of projects. These have included ‘Utopian’ monographic artist commissions, contemporary philosophy conferences, research exhibitions and initiatives related to the field of cinema. With the opening of a permanent cultural complex in Milan, the Fondazione offers new opportunities to enlarge and enrich our processes of learning.
‘What is a cultural institution for?’ This is the central question of today. We embrace the idea that culture is deeply useful and necessary as well as attractive and engaging. Culture should help us with our everyday lives, and understand how we, and the world, are changing. This assumption will be key for the Fondazione’s future activities.
Our main interest is ideas, and the ways in which mankind has transformed ideas into specific disciplines and cultural products: literature, cinema, music, philosophy, art and science. With the new venue, the Fondazione’s range of knowledge will be expanded. Each field will be afforded its autonomy but have the same overall aim. They will co-exist with one another, leading to unpredictable resonances and cultural intersections.
An attitude of openness and invitation characterizes the political mood of the new Milano premises. We will assert the possibility of participation at all levels for all generations. We will try to find new ways for sharing ideas. Attempts to redefine education programs will go alongside with rethinking the notion of the Library. Another possible question how a contemporary art institution can engage with the Cinema without becoming a film festival.
Art is the Fondazione’s main and given instrument of working and learning. A territory of freethinking in which established, indelible figures– as well as emerging approaches– are welcomed. The Prada Collection, comprising mostly of works from the 20th and 21st centuries, is another one of our given instruments. Our collection is conceived as a resource of perspectives and of potential energy. We will invite different kind of people to provide new interpretations of undetected ideas from the collection: curators, artists, architects but also scientists and students, thinkers and writers.
This emphasis on range and repertoire of knowledge is reflected in the spatial composition of the Fondazione Prada in Milan. Formerly a distillery dating back to the 1910s, the transformation leads to an architectural configuration that combines preexisting buildings with three new structures. The combined result is a campus of post-industrial and new spaces, alternately intimate and expansive, while the courtyards provide a common public ground, open to the city. This rich spatial array will encourage quick and improvised reactions to cultural stimuli.
Finally, the Fondazione new institutional structure embodies the overall aim towards reinvention. It has become an open structure, where ideas are freely exchanged between the Presidents, Fondazione Prada’s curatorial departments and the Thought Council, a group of individuals invited to engage with the future program for different durations of time. These and other contributions and voices bring to the process their own unique views on the present moment.