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Located in the city of Reggio Emilia, the collection is housed in the former Max Mara headquarters and displays some of the most prestigious pieces of contemporary art from 1945 to the present day.

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You may know the city of Reggio Emilia in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy for the iconic cheese that comes from the region – Parmigiano Reggiano.

However, if you’re more interested in art than dairy, you’ll want to visit the Collezione Maramotti.

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Housed in the former headquarters of the famous Max Mara fashion house, the building is now home to a vast collection of contemporary art acquired by the company’s founder, Achille Maramouti.

While there are approximately 200 works of art on display – one of the most impressive collections in all of Italy – a new exhibition by Giulia Andriani also highlights the history of the building and the legacy of the Maramotti family.

L’improductivia – translated as “The Unproductive One” – is typical of the Italian Andriani’s work. She is known for reinterpreting personal memorabilia and archival photographs through painting to address forgotten histories.

For his first solo show in an Italian art institution, he has a large space in the South Room of the Collezione Maramotti to present a cohesive collection of new work, including large-scale paintings and watercolours.

In a meta turn, the surname L’Improdutiva is at the center of the exhibition – and was inspired by a photograph from the early 1940s, showing female students at a sewing school founded in Reggio Emilia by Giulia Maramotti, mother of Max’s founder . hit.

A young seamstress stands in the foreground with her cheeky smile and gaze straight into the lens. Andriani draws on this fascinating image in her interpretation, drawing on themes of both women’s liberation and the power of deviance – and unnerving the audience a bit.

This piece sets the tone for the rest of Andriani’s performance. Calling herself a feminist illustrator/researcher, her goal is to raise questions about how women have been viewed and depicted in different eras, all the while pointing out the underlying power dynamics and dismantling gender stereotypes.

He also focuses on those pieces of history that are in danger of being lost and making sure they are not forgotten.

This is especially evident with another attraction in the exhibition – works inspired by the images of the Biblioteca Scientifica Carlo Livy, which led him to dive into the individuals who lived in San Lazzaro, a former psychiatric hospital, from the late nineteenth century to the 1970s. Gave the permission to.

Andriani reveals some of the hidden lives of hospital inmates – lives that might otherwise have gone down in history. Instead, he is celebrated in a specific series of seven paintings – the ‘Seven Saints’.

Andriani’s brilliant ‘painting with photographs’ technique will undoubtedly whet your appetite for more contemporary art with strong and interesting observations – and, luckily, you’re in the right place.

Go deeper into the Collezione Maramotti and you will be able to explore several hundred works of art from the collection, which dates from 1945 to the present day.

The majority of pieces found in Italy, as well as globally, are paintings, but installations and sculptures also play a role.

A particularly impressive work is Czech artist Christoph Kinter’s Postnaturalia, an exploration of nature as a giant nervous system in the modern ‘Copper Age’. Made of traditional art materials as well as electric and electronic waste materials, stills, lamps and chemical substances, Kinter’s massive installation takes up an entire room in the Collezione.

Although, perhaps not surprisingly, much of the collection focuses on European art – think Art Informal, Roman Pop Art and Neo-Expressionism – the other side of the pond is also well represented.

American Neo-Expressionism is largely associated with the American New Geometry of the eighties and nineties.

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Five years ago, in March 2019, the Collezione exhibited several collaborations with artists, originally intended to remain there permanently – for a limited time.

Ten rooms on the second floor of the building are now housed with small exhibitions for artists including Enoch Pérez, Gert and Uwe Tobias, Margherita Moscardini, who first showed their work at the Collezione in 2008, 2009 and 2019 respectively.

By choosing to give these artists relatively free reign, Collezione is working towards its goal of supporting both Italian and international artists at a crucial moment in their careers.

Additionally, in collaboration with London’s Whitechapel Gallery, they offer the Max Mara Art Prize for Women every two years with the aim of encouraging and supporting emerging female artists living and working in the United Kingdom.

The award gives the recipient the opportunity to further develop their creative potential and career, by helping them create a brand new art project.

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This attitude is also evident in the Collezione Maramotti.

Its curator says the collection is still a “work in progress” and that it will remain flexible in the future, as new and different avenues of contemporary art are opening up to the world.

L’improductuvia runs until 10 March 2024 and is located at Collezione Maramotti Via Fratelli Cervi, 66, 42124 Reggio Emilia RE, Italy.

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