We ended up at Fondazione Prada on the basis of a miscommunication.
Lizzie was visiting and I'd remembered that she'd once sent me photos of Bar Luce, Wes Anderson's gloriously kitsch cafe creation, expressing her desire to go.
So I told Michele that we had to go - thinking it was somewhere in the centre of the city and would mean extra cake and coffee for me (it's all about food, right??)
So Michele took us on the metro out into what was practically the suburban hinterland (ok I exaggerate) of Milan and towards this rather industrial looking area. Which turned out to be the Fondazione Prada art gallery. Which is where Bar Luce is situated.
And Bar Luce is a very, very busy cafe indeed and not one you can just rock up to without a plan. And then it turns out that Lizzie couldn't remember having wanted to go. So I saw myself being dragged away from my dream of kitsch cake and coffee and towards a modern art gallery.
And you know how I feel about modern art.
My legs began aching preemptively at the prospect of spending knee-crushing hours shuffling around looking at utter pretentious crap.
And was I right?
Well, no actually. Not entirely. Some of the pieces left me shaking my head in despair but there were many others that were actually quite fascinating!
(I should probably add in a disclaimer here - when it comes to modern art, I am a complete and utter cretin and philistine. All these sculptures and videos and performance art things just go right over my head. I've said it once and I've said it again, I think art should be accessible to all and not just those who have been able to study it. Maybe I'm hugely missing the point - maybe modern art speaks to people who also haven't studied it but who have a deeper emotional grasp of things and so can appreciate it regardless. I am certainly not one of those people and I like my art to look like things I actually recognise. Disclaimer over!)
This one in particular made me think of Easter eggs for some reason. It made me think of pink chocolate. I kind of wanted to eat it. (I was still thinking about cake.)
The textures were really quite beautiful. Even though I have absolutely no idea what the hell it meant, it was enjoyable to observe.
These giant statues were quite unnerving to look at. They were so still and silent (obviously) but this seemed to be magnified by the huge industrial space they occupied and the small people milling about by their feet, talking in hushed voices.
And this was definitely my favourite; a collection of photographs of caves which had been used to create a computer model of a cave - which had been printed by a 3D printer onto slices of cardboard!
If you looked up close, it looked like it was made up of contour lines on a map.
When we came through into one of the main gallery spaces, I was confused when I saw a man sitting on one of the plinths, happily talking away whilst a crowd walked up close to him and took photos. He didn't seem to notice the cameras waving in his face, nor did he make eye contact with anyone.
It took me a moment to realise he was actually a robot. A rather unnervingly lifelike robot who moved in quite a human way.
(On second thoughts, looking at the way he's dressed, I should have known he was part of the exhibition from the start...)
We headed upstairs where we found another one of my favourite pieces - a ladder made of bread propped up against a canvas of stars. My interpretation: the stairway to heaven is made of baked goods.
And considering that by now I was feeling a little more receptive to the whole modern art thing, I was very happy to spy this painting (yep, I'm boring and I like my art to look like something real).
It made me think about how everyone observes the same thing at the same time and that we're always just trying to capture it from different angles with our smartphones but that ultimately we're all looking at exactly the same thing - a collection of pixels through a screen. And I also really liked the way there's no way they could have done those paintings in time (I mean, a launching rocket isn't exactly a still life) and how the painting comments on the way our documentation of events has changed over time.
(See, I can be deep).
(Also, no, interpreting art is really not my thing).
(Yes I'm uncultured, leave me alone).
But in any case, a big well done to Fondazione Prada for actually making me feel a bit more enthusiastic about modern art. Still a shame about the cake though...
The exhibitions change regularly and if you're an art lover in Milan, I'd definitely recommend a visit.
Largo Isarco 2