The Italian contemporary Sculpture gardens and Arts Patronage

6 July 2012

In the Tuscan countryside of Pistoia, the Fattoria di Celle has just celebrated its thirtieth anniversary, bringing new permanent works of artists such as Luigi Mainolfi, Alessandro Mendini and Robert Morris in the vast green estate owned by Giuliano Gori. Alberto Giacometti’s Walking Man is also on show, borrowed from the Fondation Maeght.

In Montemarcello, in La Spezia province, the summer opening of La Marrana Arte Ambientale park coincides this year with an exhibition dedicated to Marina Abramovic.

Finally, while in Milan’s Palazzo Reale a whole room of the “Addio anni Settanta” exhibition is reserved to Daniel Spoerri’s works, the Swiss author is welcoming visitors to his 16-hectare garden in Seggiano, where more than one hundred sculptures by artists such as Dieter Roth, Arman, Jean Tinguely and Nam June Paik are displayed all around the property.

Regarded as some of the most prestigious contemporary sculpture gardens in Italy, all these institutions cannot simply be defined as “open-air museums”, for they are not merely showing works in an external environment. Indeed, Environmental Art as a dialogue between landscape and art pieces is not only an evocation of the nature-nurture debate, but is also a discipline raising questions about how local heritage is promoted and creativity is supported and encouraged countrywide.

Each with different purposes and targets, these projects have nonetheless something in common. Firstly, they are all relatively new. Gori opened to the public his twenty-hectare estate around the sixteenth-century Villa Celle in 1982. Bolongaro family did it with the Montemarcello mansion in 1995. Spoerri unveiled its Seggiano garden in 1997. Secondly, they are all characterized by an ideal proximity with the traditional features of Italian arts patronage, or mecenatismo, from Renaissance until present. The three parks, separated by just a few hours by car, are located between many other famous, classical Italian gardens. The usual access restriction for these locations are loosened in the summertime, making easier to plan a visit.

Pictures: © Fattoria di Celle – Collezione Gori: Carlo Fei, Aurelio Amendola

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