UFO. Onion. These are the very deliberate descriptors used to characterise the Pecci Museum. Built originally in the 1980s by an Italian architect named Italo Gamberini, it was at the time the biggest contemporary art museum in Italy. Two years ago the museum made more of an effort to connect with the city of Florence and to grow in the contemporary scene. Maurice Nio was the second architect that added the missing elements from the original design. The golden exterior, and the circulatory functionality embrace the connection of the old and new museums, while fitting the needs of a contemporary museum.
The museum itself is more preferably known as a centre for contemporary art. It hosts not only exhibitions, but is also a place for cinema, theatre, conferences and performances with its own restaurant, library, and book shop. In this way they are capturing ideas from the contemporary world and bringing them here in the museum, finding something for every taste.
The theme of the current exhibition is ‘The End of the World’, dadadadommm. It is a really interesting exhibition and not at all as obsessed with death and destruction as the theme portrays. Its full of many different viewpoints and possibilities, allowing everyone to talk and discuss anything from politics, ecology, archeology etc. Fabio Cavallucci curated the museum in such a way to play with man’s obsession with the end of the world, like with the Mayan calendar. Our perception of time is linear and he wanted to show that time is circular, when something ends something else begins, not everything starts and ends with us.
To talk about the end you have to start at the beginning. On reaching the top of the stairs we encountered two Australopithecus (Hominids) made by Plastikart Studio, 2016. Most dont expect the two Hominids, and many wonder if they are even works of art or not. That is the fun of contemporary art, its tricky to define and depends on the context. These two sculptures using a combination of materials, tell an interesting beginning of human kind. Thought to have lived 3 million years ago in Africa, they found fossilised footprints, showing how tall and heavy the hominids were. They could also determine how they walked, with the sculpture showing their first understanding of emotion, even whilst fleeing from a volcanic eruption. The first embrace of humanity was their last embrace. The exhibit is not just about destruction and war but something constructive, the beginnings of humanity and art.
All sorts of artists and works are in this exhibition, some younger and some that are already a part of history. In the following room, the Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn, has created ‘Break-Through’, which are two collapses that gush from the ceiling in an array of foam, packaging tape and cardboard. These materials are not usually used for construction, he wanted to produce fake breakthroughs to show destruction, but why use obviously fake materials? When we see the destruction we are afraid, but sometimes it is necessary to come closer and discover it’s not as bad as it seems, it is a play on our perception.
There are many more works and artists that incite this sort of consideration. Such as the complex maps of our journey through time, through our culture, identity and society by Chinese artist, Qiu Zhijie. Then there is Jackson Pollock with 8 of his 632 sunsets that talk about reproduction and seriality. One of my personal favourites was an installation called “Transcorredor” by Henrique Oliveira. It is a log of time, a journey back from a room to a tree, where we live now and where we used to live.
Works to be discovered, discussed, and learnt from is what “The End of the World” offered. Traveling through these various environments you can experience different feeling such as disconnection from reality, insignificance in regards to the world at large, and nostalgia for the way things once were. At the end, the potential for the future is preset and recognisable, even if it is just a flicker.
Juliana Inglese is a full time student at Marist-LDM in Florence working towards her bachelor’s degree in Interior Design and Art history. Writing for the Interior Design Department blog allows her to not only utilize her passion for design and travel, but also encourages in-depth research and discovery about her fields of study. After graduation, her goal is to work for an established sustainable design firm on projects around the world.