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EXHIBITIONS

8½ – Thirteen artists celebrating the 100th anniversary of Trussardi

Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, Short Cut, 2003. Installation view. Photo: Marco De Scalzi. Courtesy Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset; Galleria Massimo De Carlo, Milan

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To mark the centennial of the Trussardi Group, the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi is presenting “8½”, an exhibition curated by Massimiliano Gioni and produced in collaboration with the Fondazione Pitti Discovery, which will open the celebrations for the hundredth anniversary of the fashion house. The first major group show organized by the Foundation, set in the monumental spaces of Stazione Leopolda, 8½ brings together the works of the thirteen international artists to whom the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi has dedicated ambitious solo exhibitions and spectacular public art projects in Milan, from 2003 to the present.

Like a carnival parade, 8½ brings together for the very first time the works of Darren Almond, Pawel Althamer, John Bock, Maurizio Cattelan, Martin Creed, Tacita Dean,Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, Urs Fischer, Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Paul McCarthy, Paola Pivi, Anri Sala, and Tino Sehgal: artists who have established themselves over the last decade as some of the most significant figures in the international art scene. 8½ presents an overview of the most groundbreaking projects produced to date by the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, retracing the key stages of its activity and illuminating an important chapter in the history of recent contemporary art.

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Everything is Going to Be Alright, the neon sign by Martin Creed that stretches across the facade of Stazione Leopolda, seems like a preface to this giant game, but it is also a warning: with its excessive enthusiasm, the work serves as an ironic comment on what visitors will find beyond the threshold. And indeed, inside the former railway station, a series of unexpected encounters unfold.

Martin Creed, Everything Is Going to Be Alright (Work # 1086), 2011. Photo: Marco De Scalzi. Courtesy Martin Creed; Hauser & Wirth

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Elmgreen & Dragset’s white car and trailer, like a metaphor for global tourism, emerge from the floor after a long, imaginary journey to the center of the earth, while a few steps away, the giant self-portrait by Polish sculptor Pawel Althamer—a balloon over 20 meters long—looms above our heads like some outlandish, temporary public monument, hypertrophic and carnivalesque.

Pawel Althamer, Balloon, 1999 - 2007. Photo: Marco De Scalzi. Courtesy Pawel Althamer; neugerriemschneider, Berlin; Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw

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The surreal film Parts of a Film with a Rat and a Bear by Fischli and Weiss, shot in Palazzo Litta during the major retrospective of the Swiss duo’s work organized by the Fondazione Trussardi, acts as a counterpoint to Paul McCarthy’s provocative, caustic depiction of George W. Bush inStatic (Pink), while Darren Almond’s intimate, melancholy portraits entertain a dialogue with Urs Fischer’s House of Bread, which seems to have come straight out of a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm.

Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Parts of a Film with Rat and Bear, 2008. Photo: Marco De Scalzi. Courtesy Peter Fischli e David Weiss; Sprueth Magers Berlin London; Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich; Matthew Marks Gallery, New York

Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Parts of a Film with Rat and Bear, 2008. Photo: Marco De Scalzi. Courtesy Peter Fischli e David Weiss; Sprueth Magers Berlin London; Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich; Matthew Marks Gallery, New York

Paul McCarthy, Static (Pink), 2004-2009. Photo: Marco De Scalzi. Collezione privata / private collection Courtesy Hauser & Wirth

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Darren Almond, If I Had You, 2003. Photo: Marco De Scalzi. Courtesy Darren Almond; Jay Jopling/White Cube, London; Matthew Marks Gallery, New York; Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin

Urs Fischer, House of Bread, 2004. Photo: Marco De Scalzi. Courtesy Urs Fischer; Il Giardino dei Lauri, Città della Pieve, Perugia

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The grotesque events recounted by John Bock in his filmMeechfieber—a potpourri of surreal machines, bric-a-brac spaceships, costumed animals and frenetic dances—contrast with the musical lament of saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc, portrayed by Anri Sala in his film Long Sorrow.

John Bock, Meechfieber, 2004. Photo: Marco De Scalzi. Courtesy John Bock; Klosterfelde, Berlin; Anton Kern, New York

John Bock, Meechfieber, 2004. Courtesy John Bock; Klosterfelde, Berlin; Anton Kern, New York

Anri Sala, Long Sorrow, 2005. Courtesy Anri Sala; Galerie Johnen + Schottle, Berlin/Cologne/Munich; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York; Hauser & Wirth; Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris

Anri Sala, Long Sorrow, 2005. Courtesy Anri Sala; Galerie Johnen + Schottle, Berlin/Cologne/Munich; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York; Hauser & Wirth; Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris

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The silent, contemplative ambience of Still Life and Day for Night, two films that Tacita Dean shot in Giorgio Morandi’s former studio, revealing the myriad stories that have lain hidden for decades, serve as a perfect frame for Maurizio Cattelan’s reflections on death and the fragility of life. Visitors are plunged into a playful, yet tragic atmosphere: Paola Pivi’s unsettling multitudes and the living sculptures directed by Tino Sehgal are like alien presences that turn the spaces of Stazione Leopolda into the perfect background for a new, enigmatic theater of the absurd.

Tacita Dean, installation view. Photo: Marco De Scalzi

Tacita Dean, Still Life, 2009. Courtesy Tacita Dean; Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris/New York; Frith Street Gallery, London

Maurizio Cattelan, We, 2010. Photo: Marco De Scalzi. Courtesy Maurizio Cattelan; The Dakis Joannou Collection, Athens

Maurizio Cattelan, We, 2010. Photo: Marco De Scalzi. Courtesy Maurizio Cattelan; The Dakis Joannou Collection, Athens

Paola Pivi, installation view. Photo: Marco De Scalzi. Courtesy Paola Pivi; Galleria Massimo De Carlo, Milano / Milan

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For the first time, with “8½”, the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi is organizing a major exhibition outside of Milan, its home territory, and it seems perfectly fitting that it should be in the city of Florence, which has always been so closely linked to art and culture. Carrying forward the Foundation’s mission to spread and promote the languages of contemporary art, 8½ is a chance to review not just the activity, but the fundamental strategies of the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, which is looking to the future and offering the international public yet another not-to-be-missed opportunity to come face to face with the very best of today’s art.

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