Exactly a hundred years ago, Lingotto was completed as one of the most innovative factories of the day. What made it special was the layout of the assembly line the Fiat vehicles were built on. It started at the bottom of the building and by the time the cars were completed they could be trialed on the famous test track at the top of the building. Although production soon moved to Mirafiori, the track remained a unique architectural icon. Even today it stands out in the Turin skyline, just over a kilometer of asphalt recently enriched by six hundred species of plants, against the backdrop of the Alps.
An open-air art museum
Since last May, the Pista 500 track has also been part of the exhibition itinerary of the Pinacoteca Agnelli, as a sort of open-air art museum that extends the interior spaces devoted to the art collection and temporary exhibitions. A series of works by international artists is distributed along the track in the most diverse media. The first artists to be involved are Nina Beier, Valie Export, Sylvie Fleury, Shilpa Gupta, Louise Lawler, Mark Leckey and Cally Spooner.
Reflecting on the contemporary
They are not linked by a shared field of research, but the curators recognize their work as embodying an art practice capable of reflecting on the contemporary world. The projects, most of which have been redesigned or produced for Pista 500, exhibit a strong aesthetic impact without concealing critical implications, sometimes explicitly feminist. This does not in the least detract from the fascination and incisiveness of the works and installations, as in the case of Sylvie Fleury, the first artist invited to present a solo show with an apparently Pop taste on the third floor of the gallery.
An immersive layout
Curated by Lucrezia Calabrò Visconti and Sarah Cosulich, the latter recently appointed director after the Quadriennale in Rome, the in-depth analysis devoted to the French artist is particularly engaging and combines the political and humorous value of her provocations with an immersive and aesthetically captivating layout. In one of the seven rooms, some sparkling metallic parts of car bodies are accompanied by videos of motorcyclists shooting, as if at an identitarian target, at designer handbags from luxury brands.
The title of the exhibition, “Turn Me On”, plays on gender construct and stereotypes, capturing the fundamental aspect of desire, both sexual and consumerist. A symbolic work by the artist, found both inside the rooms and amid the gardens, is the aesthetic transformation in a feminine key of a series of space rockets, which become colorful environmental sculptures.
A small exhibit
The exhibition layout closes with a display of paintings by Picasso and photographs by Dora Maar, which comes from works from the Agnelli collection in collaboration with the Fondation Beyeler. This small exhibit occupies the suspended structure of the Scrigno, which will host shows based on the Pinacoteca’s own collection, featuring individual works or built around selected themes.