October Art Fever
Preparations have been in full swing in Austria - specifically at Vienna's Kunstforum - for "PastPresentFuture," the first major exhibition of a selection of works from the Group's collection. However, things this month have also been busy in Italy.
Claudia Losi, an artist linked for several years with the UniCredit & Art program, created an installation project inside the UniCredit Banca branch office at Piazza Cordusio, Milan, covering it with 3000 Post-it® notes resembling blades of grass.
Flavio Favelli and the artists of the Adriano and Michele Atelier of Painting displayed the creative results from this year's Acrobazie workshop, a project that has been spotlighting outsider art for four years now. The exhibition included a display space that will remain on long-term loan with the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation at San Colombano al Lambro and will be used to present future shows.
Last but not least, UniCredit Art Day took place on October 10. The doors of numerous art institutions were thrown open for 168,000 Group employees and their families on a special day that is annually dedicated to the experience of art.
In a particularly colorful event, the UniCredit Banca branch office at Piazza Cordusio has been turned into a stretch of green: 3000 colored Post-its® have sprung up like blades of grass, put in place via an interactive engagement with branch visitors. The public was invited to express and post their thoughts anywhere they wished inside the office, in an experiment symbolizing freedom and the open expression of ideas. This occurred October 3, in conjunction with the opening of Claudia Losi's show, "Strip Maps. Look and Experience," curated by Francesca Pagliuca of UniCredit & Art. The show opened simultaneously with "Invito a Palazzo," a one-day event organized by the Italian Banking Association in support of "Day of Contemporary Art," and was attended by more than 800 people.
This was the first art installation in the Cordusio office, and it covered the entire space - from the entry, to the vault room, to the early 19th century stairwell and, of course, to the Spazio Milano exhibition space, which has served as a venue for public shows and cultural events since 2007. Losi's work on display included a selection of pieces shown for the first time in Milan, as well as a preview of a video produced by UniCredit Group and several works acquired for the Group's collection in the last five years. Claudia Losi has received strong support from UniCredit & Art in the form of commissions and acquisitions, including such important works as her entire Celacanti series, which consists of large squares of quilted fabric embroidered with subtle motifs (created in 2006 and exhibited in Spazio Milano). This new show emphasizes the element of continuity in providing support to individual artists, while promoting creativity, the production of new works and the creation of new opportunities to share and communicate through art. During the opening, panel discussions were held to expand public awareness of the role of contemporary art, and guided visits were provided by UniCredit & Art staff.
The following day, October 4, the focus shifted to Flavio Favelli and the fifth edition of Acrobazie, a project curated by Elisa Fulco and supported by the Group. Following in the footsteps of previous lead artists, Sandrine Nicoletta, Marcello Maloberti, Sara Rossi and Francesco Simeti, Favelli was chosen to engage in a dialogue with the artists of the Adriano and Michele Atelier of Painting, affiliated with the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center of the Fatebenefratelli Hospital at San Colombano al Lambro.
Acrobazie was established with the aim of bringing the art world into close contact with issues usually thought of as uncomfortable or awkward, such as mental illness. A talented artist is thus invited to participate in a workshop with the artists of the atelier, introducing provocative themes and artistic trends and suggesting a creative framework for mutual enrichment.
The end result for this edition, as shaped by Favelli, is a show that focuses on the relationships between branding and labels, recognition and anonymity, mass production and handicrafts, while using the "Made in Italy" label as a recurring theme. In addition to the works created by the artists of the atelier and the visiting artist, for the first time, the exhibition also includes a site-specific installation commissioned by the Group and provided on loan to the atelier. This work, entitled Studio for Exhibition, creates a setting in which to exhibit the artists' future work as well as the Group's collection of outsider art, thus serving as the basis to develop the project further as a museum.
Another important date for art was October 10. The Day of Contemporary Art, an event promoted by the Association of Italian Museums of Contemporary Art - and supported by UniCredit Group since its creation - originally served as the impetus for UniCredit Art Day, which enables Group colleagues and their families to enjoy preferential visits to art museums, institutions and cultural centers to experience art. Since 2008, UniCredit Art Day has been held at the international level. The event is designed to be a time for sharing and discussion, for the exploration of new languages and cultural enrichment. This year, one hundred art institutions participated in UniCredit Art Day all across Europe.
Group colleagues in each of the locations were welcomed by a team of "dreamers," in-house cultural mediators whose love of art and interest in UniCredit & Art prompted them to become personally involved in disseminating culture and promoting artistic expression. This year, access again was made available to great cultural laboratories where contemporary art takes shape. Visits to both permanent collections and temporary exhibitions and an array of interactive activities provided an experience of growth and sharing through art.
There can never be enough art!
(picture: Art Day, 2009)