The exhibitions of Salvatore Settis are based on a thesis; they are also polemics. The “designer” has to create a space in which an intellectual argument can unfold.
Antiquity is used to make arguments about the contemporary condition. Serial Classic (Fondazione Prada’s opening exhibition in Spring 2015) gave a timely signal, the potential irrelevance of too much individuality in art – his new show suggests how Antiquity’s “extreme clarity” enables it to return, recycled, in later periods.
For the first show we needed to “equalize” the sculptures – so that they could directly interact with each other and with the public without the dead-weight of their socles; for the new show – the reuse of elements of Antiquity by later cultures – we created a more didactic landscape to explore how an exhibition design can slow down, focus attention and manage expectations, from “spectacle” to a more intimate experience, implied by the greater complexity of Settis’ second thesis.
Apart from slowing down, we needed to also accommodate a huge stretch between the smallest almost microscopic item and the largest, the 11-meter-high reconstruction of the colossus. The multiplicity of the Foundation’s spaces helped the outcome, on the podium we could establish an almost laboratory inviting extensive scrutiny, and in the three rooms of the cisterna we installed unique conditions to accommodate the specific that Settis’ arguments required. The two-level observation that the Cisterna enables, could be exploited more than before – to see the Colossus directly in the face – a unique historical experience.
A project with AMO
Space photography by Laurian Ghinitoiu
Model photography by Arthur Wong