The Pitti Discovery Foundation mission is to reflect on the relationships between fashion, art, architecture, communication and the short circuit that triggers off their interaction. A seismograph and catalyser of projects, ideas and trends that bring shape and identity to thinking and contemporary creativity.
The Pitti Discovery Foundation promotes and enhances cultural research and artistic productions, analysing those areas where fashion finds its creative inspirations and forms of experimentation.
The Foundation is a no-profit organisation
President of the Pitti Discovery Foundation is Gaetano Marzotto, Lapo Cianchi is Secretary General and Legal Representative Francesco Bonami is Artistic Director,
Pitti Immagine Discovery was officially founded on 9 April 1999 with presentation of “These Restless Minds”, a video installation by the Californian artist Doug Aitken. The challenge undertaken by Pitti Immagine was to create a location in Florence where attention could be focused on the most stimulating studies of contemporary languages.
Inside the Pitti Immagine headquarters in Via Faenza a special area was turned into an exhibition venue by the architect Claudio Silvestrin. This was the start of a unique experience, under the direction of Francesco Bonami: neither a gallery, nor a museum or even a collection. It is an ongoing workshop where the capacity of a company to affect a city and its cultural life is experimented with a precise objective in mind.
In the spring of 2002, Pitti Immagine and the CFMI (Italian fashion centre in Florence) turned the Discovery programme into the Pitti Immagine Discovery Foundation, with the aim of giving greater institutional importance to the Group’s activities linked to contemporaneity. Over the years the Foundation has independently produced numerous exhibition and publishing projects that compare fashion, visual arts, cinema, photography, advertising, architecture and music. Innovative pioneering projects that inspire fashion processes and form the basis for increasingly more frequent dialogue. The initiatives presented by the Pitti Discovery Foundation are a reflection of the multi-faceted international creative scenario: a project experience that also narrates recent developments in the cultural and communication strategy of Pitti Immagine.
In 2008 the Foundation started working with the Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze Observatory for Contemporary Arts, putting together projects linked to contemporaneity.
THE FUNDAMENTAL STAGES IN THE LIFE OF THE FOUNDATION
Since 1999 the Pitti Immagine Discovery Foundation has produced numerous cultural projects and artistic productions that have contributed to exchange and dialogue between fashion and the expressive sectors that provide its models and creative inspiration. These include visual and performance arts, photos, video-installations, architecture, cinema and advertising.
Experiments that the Foundation promotes, sustains and publicises.
The fundamental milestones of a long journey:
Florence, May 1999: Inauguration of the space by Claudio Silvestrin. Doug Aitken, the first Discovery project.
Florence, 11 January / 18 February 2001: Uniforme. Ordine e Disordine (Uniform. Order and Disorder) – the first big art and fashion exhibition at the Stazione Leopolda.
Florence, September 2001: Thomas Demand – the first contemporary art installation in a museum space – the Sala del Fiorino at Palazzo Pitti.
Florence, 20 June / 14 July 2002: Intermission 1 Hedi Slimane – the first monographic project with a fashion designer, installation at the Stazione Leopolda and book.
Florence, June 2002: Matthew Barney, Cremaster Series – the entire film project that launched a big name in contemporary art.
Florence, 9 January / 9 February 2003: Il quarto sesso. Il territorio estremo dell’adolescenza (The fourth sex. Adolescent extremes) – unusual collaboration between a contemporary art curator (Francesco Bonami) and a fashion designer (Raf Simons) for an exhibition.
Florence, June 2003: publication of the first book of interviews by Hans-Ulrich Obrist, in collaboration with Charta.
Florence, 23 June 2004: Vanessa Beecroft, VB53 – a performance in the Tepidarium dell’Orticoltura in Florence, designed at the end of the nineteenth century.
Florence, 12 January / 6 March 2005: Yohji Yamamoto, Correspondences – the anthological exhibition of one of the masters of contemporary fashion in the Gallery of Modern Art at Palazzo Pitti. Then moved to the Louvre in Paris.
Milan, 24 February / 20 March 2005: Lo sguardo italiano. La fotografia di moda italiana dal 1951 ad oggi (The Italian look. Italian fashion photography from 1951 to today) – exhibition at the Rotonda della Besana, with book-catalogue.
Florence, 24 June / 4 July 2005: Raf Simons, 1995-2005, Icarus Surgit – catwalk and video installation in the Boboli Gardens, with retrospective book about his first ten years of work.
Florence, 11 January 2006: Rick Owens - DUSTULATOR – catwalk and DUSTDAM, DUSTPUMP, two installations at the Stazione Leopolda.
Florence, January 2006: Maison Martin Margiela – a “fair inside the fair”, an idea involving visitors to Pitti Uomo at the Fortezza da Basso that paves the way for a new approach to trade fair hosting.
Florence, 10 January 2008: Adam Kimmel menswear collection, a performance of fashion, art, photography and food curated by Neville Wakefield and Jim Denevan. At the Institute of Art in Florence, a multi-disciplinary creative workshop.
Florence, June 2009: WHO IS ON NEXT? / UOMO, the first edition of the competition to find new talents in men’s fashion, promoted in collaboration with Altaroma and L’Uomo Vogue. The winners become New Performers.
Florence, 14 January 2010: Umit Benan – the first New Performer – rock fashion show at the Restaurant in Santa Maria Novella Station.
Florence, 16 June 2010: Haider Ackermann, “A Carte Blanche named OPIUM – Wardrobe for Men… & Women”, site-specific fashion performance and carnet du voyage in the baroque courtyard of Palazzo Corsini.
Florence, 17 June / 16 July 2010: Andrea Zittel – Between Art and Life – the exhibition at Palazzo Pitti by this American artist, thanks to collaboration between Discovery and the Observatory for Contemporary Arts. Confidence, freedom, coherence and experience in these works by Zittel.
Florence, 13 January 2011: Gareth Pugh – fashion film with Ruth Hogben. This young English designer celebrates the event with a site-specific performance in Orsanmichele.
Florence, 13 January / 6 February 2011:
8 ½ – the first collaboration with the Trussardi Foundation: an exhibition at the Stazione Leopolda curated by Massimiliano Gioni.
Discovery produces Mode, a series of books published in collaboration with Marsilio Editori and edited by Maria Luisa Frisa, reflecting on fashion as the creative system of contemporary art.
To date Mode has published: Wig Wag. Le bandiere della moda (The flags of fashion), by Alessandra Vaccari; Antonio Marras, by Antonio Mancinelli, February 2007; Irene Brin, by Vittoria Caratozzolo, November 2007; The London Cut. L’arte inglese della sartorial (The English art of tailoring), by James Sherwood, January 2007.
Plus, L’eleganza faziosa. Pasolini e l’abito maschile (Factious elegance. Pasolini and men’s suits), by Paola Colaiacomo, November 2008; Una vita al limite (A life on the edge), the unpublished autobiography of Simonetta Colonna by Cesarò, January 2008; Simonetta. La prima donna della moda italiana (The prima donna of Italian fashion), edited by Vittoria C. Caratozzolo, Judith Clark, Maria Luisa Frisa, January 2008; La Vestaglietta. Una storia tra erotismo e moda (The Wrap Dress. Between eroticism and fashion), by Elda Danese, September 2008; Workwear: lavoro moda seduzione (Workwear: work fashion seduction), edited by Oliviero Toscani with La Sterpaia and Olivier Saillard, September 2008, January 2009.
Latest publications: Una nuova moda italiana (A new Italian fashion), edited by Maria Luisa Frisa, February 2011 and Il bello e il buono. Le ragioni della moda sostenibile (The beautiful and the good. Reasons for sustainable fashion), edited by Maria Luisa Frisa and Marco Ricchetti, published by CFMI and Marsilio, May 2011.