Pirelli Hangar Bicocca: a cathedral of contemporary art
If you want to enjoy a day of art and culture, a visit to Pirelli Hangar Bicocca is for you.
Just a stone's throw from the centre of Milan and located in an industrial building that was once the site of a factory for the manufacture of locomotives, the non-profit foundation was established in 2004 and was created by Pirelli.
With its 15,000 square metres of space, it includes an area dedicated to public services and educational activities, and three first-class contemporary art exhibition spaces characterised by the visible presence of the original architectural elements from the last century: the Hangar, the Naves, and the Cube.
In this decidedly fascinating place, there is a strong link between the past and the present. The industrial and original character of the building has been maintained both outside and inside, where the original rough concrete floors and high industrial ceilings of the period have been preserved.
Among the artists that Pirelli Hangar Bicocca has hosted, and is hosting, are the likes of Marina Abramović, Carsten Höller, Alfredo Jaar, Joan Jonas, Mike Kelley, Matt Mullican, Philippe Parreno, Laure Prouvost, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Maurizio Cattelan and Lucio Fontana.
In the area where the Naves are located, in addition to the temporary exhibitions, is the spectacular permanent work by the renowned German artist Anselm Kiefer, The Seven Heavenly Palaces. These are seven large reinforced concrete towers and, although the installation lends itself to different readings, these may symbolically refer to the spiritual initiation path of those who wish to approach God according to Jewish culture.
They each weigh 90 tonnes and their heights vary between 13 and 19 metres.
Another permanent installation worth mentioning is Fausto Melotti's La Sequenza. Located in the gardens of Pirelli Hangar Bicocca, it is a monumental work, 22 metres long and 7 metres high, consisting of a series of vertical iron plates positioned at three different depth levels, with alternating solids and voids.
La Sequenza represents a theme very dear to Melotti: that of theatre and its modular dimensions, the idea of the theme and musical variations.
Around the large entrance that gives access to the exhibition spaces there are several areas: the Kids' Room, designed for events and workshops for children and families, a Reading Room, a Bookshop and a Bistrot.