Miuccia Prada

MILAN Fondazione Prada in Milan has just been completed, but its Venetian outpost in the 18th-century palazzo Ca’ Corner della Regina continues to operate and on Thursday unveiled its latest exhibition “Machines à penser,” in the presence of Miuccia Prada.

Curated by Dieter Roelstraete, it runs from May 26 to Nov. 25, coinciding with the Venice Biennale.

The exhibition examines the relationship between thought and the environment in which ideas take shape, focusing on three major philosophers of the 20th century: Theodor W. Adorno, Martin Heidegger and Ludwig Wittgenstein, who all experienced exile, willingly or otherwise.

Roelstraete believes that “isolation, whether chosen or imposed, influenced their thinking and in these spaces the three protagonists of the exhibition gave birth to their deepest thoughts.”

The ground floor of Ca’ Corner della Regina is dedicated to Adorno, whose American exile in the Forties is evoked. A blown-up photo by Patrick Lakey portrays the inside of Villa Aurora in Los Angeles, where the philosopher entertained other exiled Germans to exchange ideas.

The first floor presents reconstructions of Heiddeger’s and Wittgenstein’s huts in the Black Forest, Germany, and in a Norwegian fjord, respectively. Heidegger’s house, built in a reduced scale, contains photographs of the philosopher and his wife taken in Todtnauberg between 1966 and 1968 by photo-reporter Digne Meller-Marcovicz and ceramic objects by Jan Bontjes van Beek.



A view of the “Machines à penser” exhibit at Fondazione Prada, Venice.  Mattia Balsamini- Courtesy of Fondazione Prada

The exhibition is accompanied by a 500-page book curated by Roelstraete and published by Fondazione Prada.

Fondazione Prada, which was founded in 1993 by its presidents Miuccia Prada and her husband Patrizio Bertelli, counts two outposts — the headquarters in Largo Isarco, in the southern area of Milan, which was opened in 2015, and the Venetian location. In addition, the art institution operates an exhibition space dedicated to contemporary photography and visual arts called “Osservatorio [Observatory],” which opened in Milan’s shopping arcade Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in 2016.

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