A rehang at Collezione Maramotti in Italy shines the spotlight on some 400 distinctive artworks
When most people hear the name Max Mara, they think of fashion, street and ready-to-wear garments crafted with elegance and refinement. Achille Maramotti, the founder of the fashion house, was not only a pioneer in the fashion world but also a prominent art collector, philanthropist and connoisseur of culture.
Though he focused mostly on nurturing Italian artists, Maramotti also championed the work of international artists that emerged in the 1980s, such as Julian Schnabel and Alex Katz, to name a few. However, Maramotti’s collection of Transavanguardia, the Italian variant of neo-expressionism that emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s, remains unparalleled and one of the most important in the world.
Maramotti initially displayed his collection in the corridors of the Max Mara factory in Reggio Emilia, a beautiful Italian village known for parmesan cheese, but after his fashion empire expanded, Maramotti needed to find a permanent and more stable home for his burgeoning art collection. After Max Mara’s production was moved to another location, the old factory was transformed into a world-class museum in 2007 by English architect Andrew Hapgood, and now houses the Maramotti collection of art on a rotating basis.
When Maramotti passed away in 2005, the legacy he built as an art patron lived on through his three children, who continue to buy and commission new works from a younger generation of artists, including Jacob Kassay, Claudia Losi and Krištor Kintera.
This past March, for the first time since the opening of Collezione Maramotti in October 2007, the art institution staged a rehanging of its permanent collection – an exhibit aptly titled Rehang. There, some 400 new works are on view, in parallel with a temporary exhibit on the ground floor that presents documents, books and works from the Collezione Maramotti’s archives.
One of the artists in attendance at the exhibition launch was Jason Dodge, who in 2013 developed A Permanently Open Window, an installation conceived for the abandoned industrial space of the old factory, which is now transformed into a commercial outlet, adjacent to the Collezione Maramotti. The artist defines his installation “as a double threshold for a possible passage of bodies made of air,” bridging worlds of language and architecture. The constituent parts that together form the work reference the high-voltage cables that once overlapped in the tower, becoming, in effect, the construction of a new conceptual space that reframes our understanding of interior and exterior perception.
During the rehang, other commissions were also on display, including a massive room-sized installation by Gert & Uwe Tobias from 2009. In it, the Transylvanian-born artists borrow elements from their family’s past, which they then remix with elements of 20th-century painting, lithography and ceramics. The rehang also foregrounds a compelling series of mellifluous paintings by Jacob Kassay, which have not been seen since the artist first created them in 2009.
A VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN PRINT IN SELECTIONS, 21 ARTISTS AND A BIENNIAL #49, PAGES 170-176.