In Conversation With...Miuccia Prada

MIUCCIA PRADA - by Stefano Roncato "I hope that art, in addition to being useful, can also become something attractive and fun to share with others”

Miuccia Prada at the Miu Miu Cruise 2019 show in Paris. Photo by Valerio Mezzanotti for NOWFASHION.

"I became passionate about art relatively late in my life. My cultural education was based more on literature, philosophy and cinema. I approached art through study, reading and traveling". This is how Miuccia Prada discusses the adventure that led her to explore new territories beyond the sector for which she has become an iconic figure, fashion; a research journey that has always involved the colliding of talents and artists, a journey that culminated with the creation of the Prada Foundation with headquarters in Milan and Venice. And the recent opening of the historic Rong Zhai residence in Shanghai: a place which continues to give rise to new ideas.

What relationships do you establish with the artists you work with?

We generally have a relationship that includes dialogue, lengthy discussions and mutual exchange. Interacting with the artists helps me reconsider my ideas, and above all helps me compare myself with worlds I was totally unaware of. 

Do you consider yourself a patron?

No, my husband and I are not patrons; we do something much deeper with the Foundation. We are idea activators. This is our motivation, and is what we are acknowledged for. 

Finale at the Prada Spring/Summer 2018 show in Milan. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.

What reciprocal influences do fashion and art have?

They are two distinct areas for me, even if they follow the same creative process. From my point of view, fashion must be a connection to reality, not an isolated element of classical beauty; this is why I like short-circuiting and conta- minating shapes and cultural references that I also find in contemporary art. 

How did the choice to create the Prada Foundation come about? How will it evolve? 

The decision to open a public space devoted to art and culture dates back to almost twenty-five years ago. After having carried out many art, cinema, architecture and philosophy projects in Italy and abroad, we decided to open a permanent office in Milan in 2015. An ex-industrial complex was turned into an area for research and study: it has hosted the ancient art exhibition "Serial Clas- sic" by Salvatore Settis, has been a venue for experimenting new languages, as with the multimedia installation by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, as well as a research platform for artists such as Goshka Macuga, Francesco Vezzoli, Theaster Gates and many more. The Foundation deals with much more than art: over the last three years we have explored other subjects such as cinema, photography and performance, all with an approach entirely lacking preconceptions. 

After the opening of Shanghai, what are the next projects? 

The historic Rong Zhai residence is a flexible space for various Prada Group activities, including cultural and artistic projects. At the Foundation's offices in Milan and Venice we will continue to strengthen our commitment to re- reading moments of our artistic and cultural history through new perspectives, questioning the present through collaborations with contemporary artists and contributions from important intellectuals, investigating reality with the tools of culture while trying to participate in the current debate of ideas. 

What will be the future of art? How do you see it in twenty years? 

I hope that in the future, art will increasingly help us orient ourselves in understanding the world and its differences, as a tool that helps us build a free and independent vision of reality. I hope that art, in addition to being useful, can also become something attractive and fun to share with others.

By Stefano Roncato - MFF Magazine for Fashion
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