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Don’t destroy the Isola Art Center!
We ask the City of Milan not to destroy a contemporary art project that is unprecedented in Italy, and not to destroy the two small parks flanking the building in which the Center has taken form. We support the demands of the neighborhood associations for renewal and improvement of public spaces, as opposed to the construction of 90,000 cubic meters of speculative real estate called for in the contract between the City of Milan and the Texas-based multinational developer Hines.
Today, in 2007, Isola Art Center runs the risk of losing the spaces in which it has operated since 2003, and no suitable alternative space in which to continue its activity has been proposed. Until now the Center has worked with 1500 square meters of exhibition space on the second floor of the industrial building known as the "Stecca degli Artigiani", owned by the city. The plans of the City of Milan call for this structure to be demolished in the very near future. The space contains a permanent collection of artworks inserted in the architecture of the building by international artists like Marjetica Potrc and Tania Brughiera, and Italian artists like Michelangelo Pistoletto, Stefano Arienti, Luca Pancrazzi, Massimo Bartolini, Gabriele Di Matteo, Vedovamazzei, Loris Cecchini and Bernardo Giorgi. These works also run the risk of being destroyed in the demolition.
Isola Art Center has taken form in the Isola neighborhood over the last six years, through the efforts of artists, critics, curators, philosophers and local residents. The Center is a workshop that offers a platform for experimentation in contemporary art, working with a logic of interdisciplinary, international research, firmly rooted in the local territory and social fabric, with the goal of changing political and urban planning decisions that will have a negative impact on the neighborhood.
Isola Art Center was officially opened in April 2005 by the Alderwoman for Culture of the Province of Milan, Daniela Benelli. The Center has created ongoing relationships of collaboration with faculty members of a number of universities and fine arts academies: Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti of Milan, the Mmilan Polytechnic, Accademia di Brera (Milan), Accademia Carrara in Bergamo, the European Design Institute (Milan), the Fine Arts Academy of Geneva. The Center is part of the “inContemporanea” network of art associations of the Province of Milan. For its programming, the Center permanently hosts and provides spaces for a number of cultural and social projects: Love Difference, connected with Fondazione Pistoletto, Città dell’Arte, Osservatorio inOpera, which studies and documents the destruction of artworks, Werkstatt, a group of young photographers, Stazione Isola, a group preparing a guide to the Isola neighborhood, Sugoe, a workshop of young artists and designers, out, the office for urban transformation formed by artists, architects, designers and scholars, Millepiani, a group of philosophers that publishes a journal of the same name, Undo.net, the most important Italian Internet project for contemporary art, Forum Isola, the forum of the local neighborhood associations, composed of Associazione Isola dell’Arte, Comitato “I Mille” and the local Parents’ Association “F. Confalonieri”. This network of associations has developed the innovative concept of a Center for Art and the Neighborhood, called “Q’ART”, in the parks of the Isola, where contaminations take place every day between contemporary art and everyday life.
From 2003 to 2007 Isola Art Center has organized 27 exhibitions presenting works by over 200 Italian and international artists, 13 special projects and 26 encounters, documented on the website. The “Emergency Biennial of Chechnya”, the exhibitions “Art-chitecture of change”, “Revolution is on hold”, “The People`s Choice” or “Women shi gaibian” have brought artists from 5 continents to the Isola. For 2007 the center has programmed exhibitions of the work of Anri Sala, Tomas Saraceno, Flying City, Plamen Dejanoff, Daniela Kostova and others. In September 2007 Isola Art Center is invited to participate at the Istanbul Biennial.