Curated by Hou Hanru
More than 200 works from more than 140 artists to describe a space that is not only a fundamental manmade infrastructure, but a place crossed by multiple meanings, sometimes victim of visual and physical bombardment - signs, advertising, surveillance cameras, garbage – a place where shared practices and new technologies are experimented, and a showcase of projects stemming from the needs of the communities.
The museum becomes a spokesperson for a reflection on the future of urban life and civil society, and on the function of artistic and cultural institutions. Site-specific projects, performance, and transdisciplinary events are part of an exhibition organised based on themes - public actions, daily life, politics, the community, innovation, the role of the institution - fundamental for understanding the new functions and identity of the modern-day street. Starting from the belief that this space is the place where the world is created, it is analysed as a manifesto of contemporary life, a scenario, and a privileged point of view, a landscape in which the creative community and citizens give life to a new community and a new world of urban creativity.
STREET POLITICS (Resistance, Protest, Occupy, Manifest, Feminism and the Carnivalesque, etc.) is the main theme of the first part of the exhibition in which the street is described not only as a place of celebration and parties, but also a space in which a voice is given to social tensions, an arena of protest and resistance to control by power.
The GOOD DESIGN (Innovation, Limitation, and Freedom) nucleus includes works that depict the street as the ideal platform where to experiment with technological innovations related to communication, life, and mobility. The street has shared approaches and knowledge that have made not only a new form of design possible but also new conditions of environmental and social sustainability.
Related to this theme, we also find Cars by Artists, a giant wall of images that collects the TOP50 artistic reflections on the protagonist of the road: the automobile.
COMMUNITY (Immigration, Minorities, Diversity, Love and Living Together) brings together works in which the road is the fundamental node for the development of a shared conscience, the laboratory in which to redefine boundaries and characters of minorities, or - in the light of recent migratory phenomena - rethink the instruments of reception and protection. Around the theme EVERYDAY LIFE (Eat, Work and Exchange, Home/Homeless…) rotate not only works that express all of this, but also works that show how life in the street can assume the character of marginalization and social exclusion.
Around the theme INTERVENTIONS (Walk, Play and Getting lost…) rotates the video works of more than 30 artists including Allora & Calzadilla, Cao Fei, Martin Creed, Jean-Baptiste Ganne, the collective Ha Za Vu Zu, David Hammons, and many others; works that show how thanks to the experience of artists of the 1960s and 1970s, modern artists have considered the street as a privileged context where to experiment more ordinary and more complex actions, and investigate the sensation of loss inherent to the urban dimension. The New Pompidou project video by Simon Fujiwara and Work in Public Space by Thomas Hirschhorn, The Road Show by Chim↑Pom and Riding Modern Art by Raphaël Zarka give voice to THE OPEN INSTITUTIONS (Street As Museum, Museum as Street) or how the museum has adopted characteristics of the street, bringing within it experiences, works and research conceived for the urban space.
In parallel, the museum itself has become a street, losing in part its identification as a place of protection of a common heritage, because today it is proposed as a sharing place, in which events alternate and events take place.
The last theme with which the exhibit deals with is MAPPING (Planned / Unplanned, Built / Unbuilt), which highlights the common characteristics between contemporary artistic research and architectural - urban planning, today characterized by vertical projects, elevations, underpasses, futuristic or utopian crossings, often in contrast with the built space and the urban utopia of the road as an authorizing element.
Two timelines accompany the exhibition path giving the opportunity to look at the street from a historical point of view, further explore the theme: RETHINKING THE CITY which tells its evolution from an architectural and urban point of view, an itinerary that, from the late 19th century, arrives at post-modernist visions that includes, among others, historical images, the Piano per Algeri by Le Corbusier, images from Las Vegas Studio (1966-71) from the archive of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, the Sistema disequilibrante by Ugo La Pietra and No-Stop City (1970-1974) by Archizoom.