‘small utopia. ars multiplicata’ fondazione prada at ca’ corner della regina in venice ‘in advance of the broken arm’, 1915 (1964) by marcel duchamp staatlisches museum schwerin, schwerin the vera and the arturo schwarz collection of dada and surrealist art in the israel museum, jerusalem; ‘trap’ by marcel duchamp atilio codognato collection, venice images © attilio maranzano

the small utopia. ars multiplicata ca’ corner della regina, fondazione prada, venice, italy on now through 25th november 2012

curated by germano celant, the 2012 signature exhibition at fondazione prada’s venice gallery space reflects the dream of achieving the popular spread of art editions through the multiplication of artworks as objects– an artistic desire borne at the beginning of the 20th century with the russian constructivists and pursued through the fluxus and pop art movements of the 1960s and ’70s.

‘this small utopia, born at the beginning of the 20th century out of the attempts by the russian constructivists and productivists to work with objects of everyday use, such as pottery, and the more individualistic aims of marcel duchamp, who reproduced his own works on a reduced scale and assembled them in his boîte-en-valise, 1941 (three editions of which are presented here), put down deeper roots in the seventies, when the system of art began to spread, on the plane of information and communication, to all levels of society. an adventure in which all the principal movements became caught up, from italian futurism to the bauhaus, from neoplasticism to dada and surrealism, from nouveau réalisme to op art and fluxus, culminating in the explosion in multiplication triggered by pop art, promoter of a genuine “supermarket” of the art object, translated into book, magazine, can, film, clothing, record, dish, furniture, toy, and many other forms.‘

the small utopia. ars multiplicata at the fondazione prada ‘la mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires même’ or ‘la boîte verte’ (the bride stripped bare by her bachelors, even or the green box), 1934 neue galerie graz am universalmuseum joanneum, graz; zignone collection ‘de ou par marcel duchamp ou rrose sélavy’ or ‘la boîte-en-valise’ (from marcel duchamp or rrose séelavy or the box in a valise), 1941 (1947) series B, private collection; series F, FRAC poitou-charentes, angoulême; series D, zignone collection

surveying hundreds of individual pieces across three floors, the exhibition investigates the change in perspective on the meaning of an ‘artwork’ and on their opportunities for use both socially and aesthetically.

divided across different rooms, each devoted to a specific medium, the ground floor and first mezzanine display artists’ books, magazines, experimental films and radio: the early media in which the defining boundaries of what constitutes an art object began to dissolve.

the second level of the building houses the exhibition’s central section, comprising over six hundred objects of design, ceramics, glassware, textiles, toys and editions of originals and multiples. the realization of these objects reflects the opportunities that new technology brought to art production. works here span a host of 20th century artistic movements– from italian futurism to russian constructivism and bauhaus; from neoplasticism to surrealism, and nouveaux réalistes, op art, and pop art– each of which was marked significantly by the emergence of technology, especially those tools of mass production; and each of which adopted its own approach and aesthetic to the possibilities that this brought to ‘ars multiplicata’ and the historical desire of the mass dissemination of art objects.

the small utopia. ars multiplicata at the fondazione prada installation view including works by man ray, meret oppenheim, maurice henry and max ernst

contributors to the showing include the museum of modern art in new york, director anne thurmann-jajes of the research center for artist’s publications of the museum weserburg in bremen, antonio somaini, marie rebecchi and guy schraenen.

the small utopia. ars multiplicata at the fondazione prada ‘brillo soap pads box (pasadena type)’, 1969 by andy warhol galerie bruno bischofberger, zurich; ‘campbell’s tomato juice box’, 1964 by andy warhol the andy warhol museum, pittsburgh; founding collection, contribution to the andy warhol foundation for the visual arts; ‘mott’s apple juice box’, 1964 by andy warhol the andy warhol museum, pittsburgh; founding collection, contribution to the andy warhol foundation for the visual arts

the small utopia. ars multiplicata at the fondazione prada ‘heinz tomato ketchup box’, 1964 by andy warhol the andy warhol museum, pittsburgh; founding collection, contribution to the andy warhol foundation for the visual arts

the small utopia. ars multiplicata at the fondazione prada ‘beach buggy’, 1922 (1925) by gerrit rietveld centraal museum, utrecht; ‘compositie VIII’, 1918-19 by theo van doesburg museum de lakenhal, leiden; loan cultural heritage agency of the netherlands; ‘compositie VIII’, 1918-19 by theo van doesburg hernando pérez collection, màlaga; courtesy galerie ulrich fiedler, berlin

the small utopia. ars multiplicata at the fondazione prada ‘la mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires même’ or ‘la boîte verte’ (the bride stripped bare by her bachelors, even or the green box), 1934 neue galerie graz am universalmuseum joanneum, graz; zignone collection ‘de ou par marcel duchamp ou rrose sélavy’ or ‘la boîte-en-valise’ (from marcel duchamp or rrose séelavy or the box in a valise), 1941 (1947) series B, private collection; series F, FRAC poitou-charentes, angoulême; series D, zignone collection

the small utopia. ars multiplicata at the fondazione prada veduta d’insieme

the small utopia. ars multiplicata at the fondazione prada veduta d’insieme

the small utopia. ars multiplicata at the fondazione prada ‘inkwell set’, 1923 by nikolai suetin porcelain, polychrome overglaze painting 12.5 x 15.5 x 14.5 cm courtesy v. tsarenov collection, london © nikolai suetin by SIAE 2012

the small utopia. ars multiplicata at the fondazione prada sergei checkhonin with nikolai suetin ‘service set’, 1923 porcelain, polychrome overglaze painting; 5 elements courtesy state hermitage museum, st. petersburg © nikolai suetin by SIAE 2012

the small utopia. ars multiplicata at the fondazione prada ‘wedding souvenir’ by claes oldenburg, 1966 cast plaster; ‘silver edition’ spray painted 5 3/4 x 6 1/2 in. (14.6 x 16.5 x 6.4 cm) courtesy claes oldenburg and coosje van bruggen © 1966 claes oldenburg

the small utopia. ars multiplicata at the fondazione prada ‘pyramid’,1968 by roy lichtenstein screenprint on lightweight board folder into a 3d pyramid 37.6 x 50.2 x 50.2 cm; edition of 300 courtesy private collection © estate of roy lichtenstein by SIAE 2012

the small utopia. ars multiplicata at the fondazione prada ‘bicycle wheel’, 1913 (1964), no 1/8 by marcel duchamp assisted ready made: bicycle wheel and fork mounted upside down on a kitchen stool painted white 126.5 x 63.5 x 31.8 cm; edition of 8 courtesy hessisches landesmuseum darmstadt © succession marcel duchamp, 2012, ADAGP/paris, SIAE/rome

the small utopia. ars multiplicata at the fondazione prada the exhibition space is the fondazione prada at ca’ corner della regina in venice

for more information about the cà corner della regina in venice building where fondazione prada houses its art exhibitions, read designboom’s coverage of the building on the occasion of its opening in june 2011 here.

the small utopia. ars multiplicata at the fondazione prada germano celant, patrizio bertelli, miuccia prada and giorgio orsoni