Forget about antiques, Italy’s latest trend is contemporary art
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If you were to choose to spend your holidays anywhere in the sun-drenched Italian peninsula, you would almost surely not pick Turin. Why would you choose this industrialised city near the Alps, over the everlasting beauties of Rome and Florence or a paradisiacal beach in Sardinia? But pay attention for a little while yet: according to The New York Times, Turin is the only Italian city worthy of a visit in 2016. In this year’s selection of 52 Places to Go, released on January 7th 2016, Turin competes against “ancient temples and crystalline waters” such as Cambodia’s Phnom Penh and the Caribbean's Guadeloupe. According to the chart, even though Rome or Florence “are always exciting”, Turin was the only Italian city that made “compelling changes” in 2016. In fact, the renovated Egyptian Museum and Palace of Venaria are not its only draws. The city has become the crucible of a rising contemporary art scene that develops across “fresh exhibition spaces”. Since being nominated Italy’s first capital city in 1861, Turin has somehow changed the world. What would have iTunes been without the mp3 format? Ask the three natives of Turin who invented it. It does not matter if Milan and Rome are now considered birthplaces of Italy’s fashion, cinema and TV. The country’s first fashion industries were born in Turin, as well as the RAI, the Italian public Broadcasting Company. Finally, forget about Rome’s Cinecittà, symbol of Italian cinema’s golden age. Actually, this golden age was born in Turin by the end of the 19th century. Following its historical tradition, this year Turin “made the cut” again. On April 8th the EU Commission named the city as second “European Capital of Innovation 2016” – just after Amsterdam – for its “open innovation models creating new market opportunities for urban innovations”. In addition, also The Number 6, a luxury apartment building in the city centre, and the new Intesa SanPaolo’s skyscraper, designed by Renzo Piano, have won the prize “Building of the Year”, set by the magazine ArchDaily, both in 2015 and 2016. Besides hosting both the Kappa Futur Festival and the Movement, two music festivals, Turin has become the Italian bulwark of contemporary art. Recalled by The New York Times, both Artissima and CAMERA, respectively the leading fair and market of contemporary art in Italy and the new Italian Centre of Photography are worthy of a tour. Similarly, Turin boasts also a surprising museum: the MEF (Museo Ettore Fico). Inspired by Ettore Fico, a niche Italian artist, this museum has made art accessible to Turin’s periphery too, without using any state funds. It stands in the heart of Turin’s regeneration area, ‘Spina 4’, next to the Docks Dora, a collection of former warehouses, now home to some of Turin’s most avant-garde artists. Rising out of the wreck of a former industrial wasteland, the museum was built with private donations, following the 40-year-old architect Alex Cepernich’s project. In contrast with the museum’s total whiteness, the MEF welcomes the public with a black façade, “imagined just like a metaphorical monolith upon which visitors are free to imagine whatever they want”, explains Cepernich.
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