The Grand Opening of the new Luigi Pecci Centre for Contemporary Art, Prato

Words by Carla Ingrasciotta
October 14, 2016

The Grand Opening of the new Luigi Pecci Centre for Contemporary Art is approaching.

Scheduled for the 16th of October 2016, the Centre will reopen upon the completion of the futuristic, spaceship-shaped extension by the Rotterdam based architect Maurice Nio, and the renovation of the original building by Italo Gamberini. The Pecci Centre will in fact be the only public institution dedicated to contemporary art in Italy, and one of the few in Europe, to inaugurate a new building between 2010-2020.

Founded in 1988 — the first institution in Italy to be built from scratch with the specific intent to exhibit, collect, preserve, document and distribute the most advanced artistic research — the Pecci Centre is about to become an international benchmark for the experimentation of multiple contemporary artistic languages. Its mission, in fact, is to explore various disciplines of contemporary culture including film, music, performing arts, architecture, design, fashion and literature, whilst simultaneously seeking to make art as accessible as possible to society.
Thus, in addition to more than doubling the size of the exhibition spaces, the new centre will also have an archive and specialised library which will include over 50,000 volumes, an outdoor theatre, a cinema/auditorium, a performance space in the galleries, a bookshop, a restaurant and a pub/bistro. It will not only be an exhibition space, but one which is versatile and transformable, for experimentation and research. It will aim to create a dynamic relationship with spectators, becoming a particularly active place with the extension of opening hours on evenings when the exhibition is accompanied by performances, concerts and screenings, as well as conferences, workshops and courses for adults. As the first among Italian public institutions to do so, this creation of a research department which aims to build the theoretical foundation of various initiatives and to largely develop educational activities is an important step.

The inaugural exhibition, titled “The End of the World” and curated by the director Fabio Cavallucci with the support of various collaborators and advisors, will occupy the entire exhibition area of the museum and will feature a full programme of side events and multidisciplinary projects. The exhibition will not be a manifestation of a catastrophic and apocalyptic vision, but rather will take a look at our present from an outsider’s perspective which forces us to view the world from afar and to think about the immeasurable cosmic distances and the interminable eras of the Earth and the Universe, in face of which our lives
seem like insubstantial fragments. The exhibition will unfold between spaces which bring about a sense of cosmic silence and tranquility but also more frantic and chaotic environments, with works by international figures such as the Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn, the Cuban Carlos Garaicoa, the Chinese Qiu Zhijie and the Brazilian Henrique Oliveira. It will combine all arts in a continuous flow, thanks to architectural, musical and theatrical aspects, which will be an integral part of the exhibition.

The occasion of the reopening of the Pecci Centre, to which the Region of Tuscany bestows the task of coordinating all things contemporary for the area, will also give the city of Prato the opportunity to host a series of events and parallel exhibitions. Among these will be a display of great works provided by Tuscan galleries in a spectacular industrial building, exhibitions dedicated to young artists, works in public spaces and projects in the Central Park of Prato, the recent design contest for which some of the best architects and landscapers worldwide participated in.

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