International conference
16 DECEMBER 2016

Palazzina Reale, Piazza della Stazione, Firenze
Conference promoted by TUSCIAELECTA. ARTE CONTEMPORANEA NEL CHIANTI in collaboration with Fondazione Architetti Firenze and Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Comune di San Casciano in Val di Pesa and with the support of the Region of Tuscany.
The conference will focus on the current situation in the field of public art, evaluate possible strategies for re-launching public art in Tuscany and initiate discussion comparing some of the most important current experiences on the international scene.
In a context where identity has historically been characterized by the relationship between artistic tradition and the territory, the region of Tuscany has generated meaningful, pioneering experiences in the sphere of contemporary art, in particular in its “environmental” or outdoor forms. Such forms have found a naturally fertile terrain here, in both public and private settings.
These results have been achieved thanks in part to the virtuous network that has for years allowed municipalities of the Florentine and Sienese Chianti area to work in synergy.
Yet there have undeniably been growing difficulties to face over the past decade in the realization of long-term and/or cooperative projects – difficulties that, while involving the entire public sphere, have struck the field of cultural projects particularly hard.
The conference will thus be dedicated to a review of works of art present in the territory, commonly gathered under the generic heading of “public art.”
Beginning with reflections on the sense and appropriateness of projects realized up to now, and analysis of their various modes of conception and implementation, we will evaluate strengths and weak points, with the goal of seeking possible strategies for a cultural policy that can lead to target future interventions and new opportunities for collaboration.
As became apparent at the Forum dell’arte contemporanea italiana, organized in the autumn 2015 by the Pecci Center, the critical issues in terms of public art in Tuscany have numerous points in common with those experienced in the rest of Italy. Among them, the lack of a specific coordinating organ or agency (be it an office within an administration, or an investee or independent agency) capable of aiding individual municipalities with the difficulties they face, seems to be a common problem that must now be dealt with.
The conference will also be an occasion for reflecting on whether administrations, as commissioners, users and “registers and channels for resources,” can be supported by other tools for value-enhancement and planning, and in particular whether they should be conceived at the regional level or require a national scope in order to continue to enrich the public sphere by making the most of contemporary creativity.
With these premises in mind, the conference will propose a reconsideration of planning in the region, and will pick up some points of discussion raised during preparations for the Forum, proposing Tuscany as an engine for pragmatic and functional hypotheses.
The conference will also develop reflections and new critical perspectives with regard to an effective re-launching of exposition activities and modes of future intervention throughout the region. Focusing on a discussion of the most recent critical and pragmatic issues inherent to public art, the event will also bring the regional initiative into the current international debate.
Participating in the conference will be representatives of important institutions operating in the field of public art abroad, administrators and experts working in the region.
The day’s activities will also include the presentation of the winning project in the IDEAS COMPETITION FOR THE EX-STIANTI AREA of San Casciano – conceived by Tusciaelecta. Arte contemporanea nel Chianti – and open to artists and architects under 35.
In December 2015, a commission of experts awarded the prize to the project Habitat, presented by the FILO landscape architects’ collective, with Alessio Bertini and the collaboration of artist Davide Rivalta. Habitat proposes to renew the area through the creation of an “open” poly-functional space that promotes an integrated and multi-faceted utilization by the city’s residents. The inclusion of highly symbolic sculptures by Davide Rivalta links back to local artistic identity and memory thanks in part to their original reference to the work of Mario Merz, installed on the ancient wall of San Casciano.
At the conclusion of the conference, documentation and the on-line podcast archive of all of the talks will be published on the web site Tusciaelecta.org (linkable from the sites of all of the institutions involved).