Edicola Radetzky (Radetzky kiosk), contemporary art on the street

by Laura Luppi

Redrawing the boundaries between the work of art and the viewers, or, even better, extinguishing such boundaries through the commitment and actions of a collective of young artists who consider the city as a meeting place where it is possible to understand society and the role of an artist outside the traditional sites assigned to the artistic expression. This is the aim of Progetto Città Ideale (Project for an Ideal City), a project designed and promoted by Mirko Canesi, Fiorella Fontana and Stefano Serusi, who have been entrusted with the management and direction of Edicola Radetzky by the Municipality of Milan (Local Council 6) for the next four years. It’s a kind of mission, taking place in viale Gorizia in Milan, in the recently redeveloped area of the city’s harbour, the Darsena, which was the nerve center of cultural events during Expo 2015. Since the early 1900s in this historic district, highly appreciated by its inhabitants and visited by a large number of tourists every day, there has been an art nouveau-style kiosk: it was first used to sell newspapers and magazines, later turned into the seat of a local radio and eventually into an info point, it then fell into disuse for some years. Its name has remained unchanged until now, and it dates back to the booth for announcements used by governor Radetzky during the period of the Austrian rule in Italy.
Owned by the Municipality of Milan, the Edicola (Italian name for kiosk) has been recently allocated to Progetto Città Ideale through a tendering procedure, with the aim of enhancing it and reaching its full potential as a new and vibrant cultural pole. Thanks to a preservation/restoration work, called Cantieri Radetzky (Building site Radetzky) and carried out by another group of twenty artists, the four square meters of the kiosk have come back to life, in a style influenced by contemporary art, but in a much more democratic spirit than that to which we have become accustomed to. It is neither an art gallery, nor a museum; here the works of art show themselves to their viewers without any filters or intermediaries, revealing themselves to the passer-by as an opportunity to talk together, to manifest themselves and raise questions.
A special exhibition program, which is supposed to get the most out of this little temple, has been developed under the artistic direction of Andrea Lacarpia. The kiosk’s glass walls are particularly suitable for art installations which can easily be seen from the outside, so that the viewer can immediately interact with the works of art inside. It works like a lighthouse for the passers-by, a kind of magnet whose attractive force is augmented by night thanks to the artificial light shining from the inside out, and so the kiosk becomes a lantern of creativity on the street. The exhibitions scheduled for the first season, sponsored by Fondazione Cariplo (Cariplo foundation), among which there is the recently inaugurated exhibition dedicated to Daniele Carpi titled L’imperatore era un vecchio (The emperor was an old man), have all a common thread: the interpretation of the Elsewhere. Five interpretations of a space in which the primary energies connecting human beings to the wild nature not yet changed or destroyed by human activities interact; It’s a faraway place, it’s the Elsewhere, but only in apparent contrast to the urban context where this freak small enclosed structure is located. After Daniele Carpi’s solo exhibition Edicola Radetzky will host the solo exhibitions of Vincenzo Simone, Giovanni De Francesco, Jacopo Candotti and Dennis Venturelli, accompanied by other events and shows in collaboration with the Pavilion of Contemporary Art in Milan and in partnership with C/O careof (a non-profit organization for the contemporary artistic research) and Enel Energia (the Italian multinational manufacturer and distributor of electricity and gas).

Photo credits:
1 | Cantieri Radetzky – February 2016 – Setting up. Edicola Radetzky Milano (Photo by Patrizia Emma Scialpi)
2 | Cantieri Radetzky, detail of Fiorella Fontana’s work. Edicola Radetzky Milano
3 | Cantieri Radetzky, Edicola Radetzky Milano. Photo Credit Liligutt Studio
4 | Cantieri Radetzky, detail of SERENA VESTRUCCI and FRANCESCO MALUTA’s work. Edicola Radetzky Milano
5 | Daniele Carpi – L’imperatore era un vecchio, setting up. Edicola Radetzky Milano (3)
6 | Daniele Carpi – L’imperatore era un vecchio, setting up. Edicola Radetzky Milano (3)
7 | Edicola Radetzky (1)

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