Reggio Emilio could very well be Italy’s best kept secret. The small town has incredible history and culture, and the entire region Emilia Romagna literally has the very best Italy has to offer in food, fashion, design, and innovation. But did you know that Reggio Emilio is a center for contemporary art? In this episode, I sit down sit down with Sara Piccini, senior director of Collezione Maramotti to talk about art and Max Mara’s incredible art programs.
Let’s give a little backstory. In the 1960s, MaxMara (yes, the fabulous fashion brand) founder Achille Maramotti fell in love with contemporary art. In the following two decades, his love turned into a substantial collection, and in 1987, when the MaxMara brand grew too big for its company headquarters in Reggio Emilio, Maramotti turned the building into a gallery. . . Collezione Maramotti. It was a private collection until 2007 when the family decided to unleash it on the publish. And I am so happy.
I walk into Collezione Maramotti, and meet up with about 200 pieces of contemporary art by artists from all over the world. And that is just the tip of the artsy iceberg. Maramotti’s collections is approximately 1000 works of art (so imagine what’s in the warehouse), and growing thanks to a laser focus on new artists. What do I mean? There are always new buys, but more importantly, the Collezione sponsors emerging artists through awards and residence programs. I sit down with Sara Piccinini, whose has been with Maramotti ever since the collection decided to open to the public in 2007. As senior coordinator, she’s part of a team of ‘coordinators’, not curators, as the Collezione Maramotti actively focuses first person dialogue to encourage artists and keep artists producing. As Sara explains, Maramotti intentionally does not use curators, allowing artists to be at the center of the process and in direct contact with the Maramotti family.
Key to the Maramotti collection is growth. Every few years, Collezione Maramotti hosts a ReHang event, where the 25% of art work is pulled from the floor and replaced with new and warehoused pieces from the collection. Particular to Maramotti is that much of the new pieces are produced specifically for the space/room the artists are individually assigned. And to get even more particular, Maramotti and White Chapel Gallery coordinate the biannual Max Mara Art Prize for Women– a quasi residency program for artists. Additionally, the former MaxMara HQ hosts the Atelier dell’Errore , a gallery-slash-creative space where neuropsychiatric care patients create works learning how mistakes are of value. I don’t visit the atelier but am first to see the 2019 ReHang and so are you.
“You have to have a desire for desire and go behind the well-known institutions.”
Reggio Emilia has a lot of contemporary art including a series of public art commissions by artists Sol LeWitt, Luciano Fabbrio, Claudio Parmigiani and Nagasawa. All you have to do is walk around the city. Sara also lists her favorite art spots in the Emilia Romagna region and her must-have local treat- erbazzone, a savory cake made with bietola (leafy green), pancetta, onion and parmigiano reggiano, of course.
Contemporary Art In Emilia Romagna
MAMBO Bologna’s museum of modern art
FMAV Modena Foundation for Visual Arts
CSAC Parma – study center and communications archive for art, design, architecture and more
Fondazione MAST Bologna- art, experience and technology
More From This Episode
Sara Piccinini, senior coordinator of Collezione Maramotti talks about contemporary art and dishes on what to do in her Reggio Emilia
[00:42] A brief history of Collezione Maramotti gallery
[02:25] what is Maxmara?
[04:21] Find out how many pieces of art are the gallery
[06:11] Are there temporary exhibitions?
[09:23] The great workshop of visual arts for people coming from the neuropsychiatric care
[10:46] Understanding the Rehang Event and its purpose
[13:43] The Maxmara Award for women
[18:21] Digging deeper into Reggio Emilia
[23:24] A walk through Collezione Maramotti