The final chapter of the project Per_forming a collection – launched in 2013 and which, starting in autumn 2015, will envision new and further modes of intervention – is dedicated to the progressive establishment of the permanent collection of the Madre museum in Naples.
The project stems from the wish to share the identity and function of the museum collection today, as an instrument for critical reflection, education and multiple narration, which artists and the public are called on to take part in together with critics, collectors, gallery owners and other institutions. The Madre museum’s collection is configured as a “per_ formative” entity, developing and purposeful, which defines the museum not only as a physical space but also as a set of social and symbolic relations, of stories to be told and possibilities to be configured.
Per_forming a collection #4 confirms the two principal axes along which the Madre’s collection has developed over the past two years. While, on the one hand, the collection recounts the history of avant-garde culture, with particular reference to all that has happened in Naples and Campania in the last fifty years – embodying their historical role as the crossroads for the most authoritative research in all fields of experimentation, from the visual arts to theater, film, architecture, music and literature, on the other, it explores the present and suggests the future, through the inclusion of artists who respond to this history with new works.
The path is not organized in a chronological order or on a geographical approach, but by the thematic organization of the galleries, so that the works and documents generate a dialogue between the languages and practices of artists from different generations, formative experiences and backgrounds, around common concerns. In this way the MADRE museum has endowed itself with a collection that is both rooted in its territory and attentive to the dynamics of international research. With its open-ended structure, the project is destined to continue over time, to further explore the per_formative character that the collection exerts on the identity and functions of the museum. In particular, in the area of the mezzanine floor (left-hand staircase), it constitutes the core of the museum’s collection of video works in progress, while the areas of the second courtyard and the terrace contain the core in progress of the museum’s collection of outdoor sculptures.
On the second floor the walkthrough of the collection is organized in galleries where the works, albeit with their independent individual art practices, are arranged by thematic areas integrated with each other: work as participatory and symbolic action, with its beginnings in Joseph Beuys’ La rivoluzione siamo noi (“The Revolution Is Us”, 1971), which is the epitome of the Madre’s collection; the role of speech and language in the physical and social space; the progressive theatralization of the artwork, in the relations between the visual arts, theater and performance; the practices of sculpture and painting in relation to the affirmation of the researches of Fluxus, Arte Povera and the processual and conceptual neo-avant-gardes of the 1960s and 1970s, until the return to painting and the rediscovery of elements such as tradition, folklore and craftsmanship in the early 1980s, foreshadowing a possible contemporary archaism opposed to the digital domain; the role of history in an increasingly connected and comparative art world; the relations between art, architecture and design, in particular in relation to radical forms that rethink our collective life; the artist’s self-representation, his/her multifarious mythology and contemporary mythography.
On the occasion of this last chapter, and looking forward to the future projects on the theme of the museum collection, the Madre’s collection has been enriched with historical works and new commissions by: Marina Abramović, Getulio Alviani, Giovanni Anselmo, Richard Artschwager, Renato Barisani, Bill Beckley, Bianco-Valente, Agostino Bonalumi, James Lee Byars, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Capri. Un pretesto, Carter, Danilo Correale, Tony Cragg, Riccardo Dalisi, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Giuseppe Desiato, Bruno Di Bello, Gabriele Di Matteo, Jimmie Durham, Falso Movimento, Lucio Fontana, Gilbert & George, Liam Gillick, Dan Graham, Gruppo XX, Judith Hopf, Thomas Houseago, Mimmo Jodice, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, William Kentridge, Anselm Kiefer, Christian Leperino, Nino Longobardi, Francesco Lo Savio, Léa Lublin, Urs Lüthi, Luigi Mainolfi, Piero Manzoni, Giuseppe Maraniello, Raffaela Mariniello, Allan McCollum, Fausto Melotti, Mario Merz, Hidetoshi Nagasawa, Roman Ondák, Luigi Ontani, Operazione Vesuvio, Gina Pane, Luca Maria Patella, Manfred Pernice, Pino Pinelli, Robert Rauschenberg, Paolo Scheggi, Markus Schinwald, Lorenzo Scotto Di Luzio, Cindy Sherman, Ettore Sottsass, Ettore Spalletti, Haim Steinbach, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Superstudio, Ernesto Tatafiore, Eugenio Tibaldi, Andy Warhol, Franz West.