Francesco VezzoliTV 70

An entertaining and surreal path
through Italian public TV


View of the exhibition “TV 70: Francesco Vezzoli guarda la Rai” Fondazione Prada, Milan
Photo Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti. Courtesy Fondazione Prada. Suzanne Santoro, Mount of Venus and Beyond, 1971


“With this project, I wanted to set a path that was risky and dense—one as difficult as the subject requires—but also entertaining and surreal. A true investigation of this contemporary custom and its roots, informed by today’s critical sensibilities: 1970s Italian television produced rituals and, as a consequence, absolute, long-lasting myths that still today, presented anew in this exhibition, can inspire us to make unconventional choices”. – Francesco Vezzoli

TV 70: Francesco Vezzoli guarda la Rai is a project conceived and realised by artist Francesco Vezzoli developed in collaboration with Rai, Italy’s national broadcasting company. The exhibition hosted by Fondazione Prada from May 9th to September 24th, 2017, translates the artist’s gaze into a visual experience that explores 1970s TV production. Italian public TV is interpreted by the artist as a driving force for social and political change in a country in transition from the radicalness of the 1960s to the hedonism of the 1980s, as well as a powerful machine for cultural and identity creation. That was the decade when Rai revised its pedagogical mission and distinguished itself for the high cultural quality of its productions, such as the collaborations with film directors Bernardo Bertolucci, Federico Fellini, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani. “TV 70”, realized with the curatorial support of Cristiana Perrella, has been conceived as a sequence of visual and semantic juxtapositions taking place in the Nord gallery, in the Podium and in the Sud gallery at Fondazione Prada.

The design of the show, realized by M/M (Paris) is based on the merging of spatial and temporal dimensions in a set-up which combines traditional museum exhibition standards with the screening of moving images, in alternating conditions of light and darkness. The sequence of immaterial documents from the Teche Rai archives combined with the materiality of paintings, sculptures and installations – selected thanks to the scientific consultancy of Massimo Bernardini and Marco Senaldi – will develop in three separate sections, and analyze the relationships between Italian public television with visual art, politics and entertainment. Fondazione’s Cinema marks the end of “TV 70” with the screening of a new work by Francesco Vezzoli “Trilogia della Rai” (2017), a selection of TV excerpts edited by the artist. By including the icons that marked his childhood and adolescence within the TV flow featuring different genres and styles, the artist will transform archive footage into a living substance, and his personal, intimate memory into a shared narration.
During the course of the exhibition Fondazione Prada will organize a series of marathons of the most significant Rai shows that experimented with TV storytelling. A chance for the audiences to test how the innovative concepts, along with entertainment and research skills behind some of the shows produced by Rai, are still relevant after forty years and capable of producing an inspiring dialectic between past and present times.