Maramotti Collection
Headquarters of Collezione Maramotti, which served as the Max Mara factory, in Reggio Emilia, Italy

Amid the international trend in which collectors create art spaces that end up serving more to display their power and reinforce their own image, the Collezione Maramotti in the city of Regio Emilia, Italy, is a notable exception. Created by Achile Maramotti (1927 – 2005), the founder of the Max Mara brand, the Maramotti collection has been occupying the 1957 modernist building, which served as a factory for the Italian fashion company, for twelve years.

After his death, his three sons, Luigi, Ignazio and Ludovica, opened the collection, then with 450 works, publicly, without, however, being the protagonists of the story. “They refuse to give interviews, nor do they participate in museums or institutions' councils, they want the works to speak for them”, says Sara Piccinini, senior coordinator of the collection.

Since then, the collection has reached 1.100 works. “The collection began to be created in the 1960s with artists who emerged in that period, so it continues today with the acquisition of works by young or mid-career artists”, explains Piccinini. From the initial generation, names such as Mario Merz or Jannis Kounellis, from the Arte Povera movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and Sandro Chia, Francesco Clemente and Mimmo Paladino, from the Italian Tranvanguarda, a term created by Achile Bonito Oliva to point out the renaissance of painting in the 1980s.

It is on the canvas, in fact, that most of the works are visible. “I believe that 85% of the works are paintings”, calculates the coordinator. For this reason, the collection probably includes works from before the highlighted periods, such as a Francis Bacon from 1952, as well as works from the holy trinity of German painting, composed by Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter and Georg Baselitz.

Postnaturalia (2017), installation by Czech artist Kristof Kintera, part of the Rehang section, in the permanent exhibition at Collezione Maramotti


The main building has an exhibition area of ​​6 m2), divided into 43 rooms, which have remained practically the same selection of works since its opening. Ten of them, however, were reorganized last March to present some of the 30 projects commissioned to young artists that have been exhibited in the institution's temporary exhibition rooms over the last eleven years. Rehang is the title that gives the name to this new session, which includes works by the Czech Kristof Kintera, the German Thomas Scheibitz, and the Italian Alessandra Ariatti, a painter who was born in the city of Reggio Emilia.

The permanent exhibition is open to the public four days a week, Thursday to Sunday, free of charge, upon registration. Temporary exhibitions are open to visitors. Currently, Fontes de Za'atari is on display, a project by artist Margherita Moscardini who, since 2015, has been mapping water sources in a refugee camp with 80 people in Jordan. The exhibition presents a typology and documentation of these sources, one of which was copied in marble and installed in a square in Reggio Emilia.

There is no public subsidy for the museum, and everything is financed by the Maramotti family, without even having public goals as a counterpart, according to Piccinini. When numbers seem to guide many art projects, it's rare to see a place where art actually takes center stage, as in the Maramotti collection.

Fabio Cypriano traveled at the invitation of Collezione Maramotti

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