MILAN — After its first 10 years, Fondazione Prada is assessing its property — and it is literally sizable.
The foundation created by Miuccia Prada and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, has held 21 exhibitions by such diverse artists as Tom Sachs, Anish Kapoor, Carsten Höller, Francesco Vezzoli and Mariko Mori, each of which covered a space of almost 11,000 square feet.
“We are looking at becoming increasingly more public,” Germano Celant, the foundation’s artistic director, said Tuesday during the association’s first press conference to present upcoming projects.
Celant did not disclose the value of the works owned, or the foundation’s budget, which is privately funded by Miuccia Prada and Bertelli. But a sponsor might be considered at some point, given the nature of the art. Celant, however, dismissed the idea of a financial partner, such as Telecom Italia, which bought 49 percent of the Luna Rossa sailing venture.
Celant was skeptical that a long-time collaboration with the city of Milan would come about. “We’ve been working with the institutions on a project for the past eight years without making it happen,” he said.
“We relish our autonomy and are extremely individualistic. We are not really looking for financial partners, but at the same time we are looking for exhibition spaces and means to display these works in a more public way,” said Celant, adding he is not considering turning the foundation into a museum.
Celant previously has said the foundation spends 300,000 to 500,000 euros per project at the most, or $389,000 to $648,000 at current exchange rates.
The foundation is based at Prada’s spaces in Milan’s Via Fogazzaro, so its exhibitions are necessarily scheduled around the fashion house’s calendar and fashion shows. To display all the works, “we would need between 108,000 and 162,000 square feet,” said Celant, adding that between 10,000 and 12,000 people visit each exhibition, which usually runs for a little more than a month.
The works, all of which were created by the artists specifically for the foundation, are stored in a number of locations and are extremely costly to reinstall. Höller’s “Upside-Down Mushroom Room” has structures that drop from the ceiling and almost graze the floor; Barry McGee uses waste materials such as wrecked cars, old metal sheets and empty bottles, and Mori’s “Dream Temple” is life-size.
Presenting the schedule for 2007, Celant said architect Rem Koolhaas had designed a site-specific set to present the “Secret History of the Russian Movies,” which will run from Feb. 1 to Feb. 4 and will be consist of 18 movies made from 1934 to 1974, 10 of which were restored by the foundation and shown at the Venice International Film Festival last September. The Koolhaas set has a central structure covered by a patchwork of film images within which the movies will be shown. The foundation previously restored Italian B movies from the Thirties and Chinese classics.
In April, the organization will show “On Otto,” a commissioned movie by Tobias Rehberger starring Willem Dafoe and Kim Basinger. Despite the star names, this is not a typical Hollywood movie. “There is no script or plot, and the public is the intellectual pivot,” said Celant. “From our original focus on contemporary sculptures and art exhibitions, we are slowly shifting toward the production of a certain kind of experimental cinema. Contemporary art is increasingly more interested in new, more popular media, with a mix of genres and a less rigid dimension.”
The foundation also organized the Italian version of the Tribeca Film Festival.
In June, the foundation will show an exhibition by German artist Thomas Demand at the Fondazione Cini during the Venice Art Biennale. Two years ago, the foundation showed an exhibition by Vezzoli at the Biennale.