The Ariane de Rothschild Prize for contemporary art is the main outcome of the Foundation's international activity. The fifth edition of the Prize, housed in the Palazzo Reale in Milan, presents an extensive selection of works by eighteen young artists of the Italian scene.
The heterogeneity of the works, the impossibility to change or exploit even the smallest part of the walls and vaults of the rooms, and a very short time available for the installation (one week) are the initial conditions that the project had to deal with. A further limitation was given by the small size (300x120 cm) of entrances through which to pass the materials and structures.
The project envisages a system of aluminum frames painted white, offering the necessary support to the works and to lighting systems, while preserving the precious neoclassical rooms. The frames define a new volume, with a constant height of 5.40 m and variable plan dimensions in different rooms. The various pieces have been transported inside the palace and then assembled on site.
The system is divided into a fixed main frame and a number of mobile sub-frames on wheels, designed to fit exactly each artwork. The sub-frames are characterized by a panel system made of white laminate, were the works have been fixed, and colored transparent acrylic. The presence of the wheels allows to move them and establish variable relations between the objects in the foreground and the precious walls, paintings and tapestries in the background, evoking a modern Wunderkammer. The impressive volume of the frames coexists with a great visual permeability, which allows to simultaneously perceive the works and the Palazzo Reale rooms.
The Prize is charged with a dense overlay of visual landscapes and horizons, a rich plot of personal stories and collective memories. The exhibition design relates to this complexity and stratification: as a long tracking shot in movies, the design takes advantage of the multiplicity of plans within the field of view of the visitor.