Serial / Portable Classic

Salvatore Settis

Portable Classic. Ancient Greece to Modern Europe (Venice, May 9–September 13) was an exhibition curated by Salvatore Settis and designed by OMA for Fondazione Prada. Taking place in Ca’ Corner della Regina, the show investigates the reception of classical sculpture from the illuminating perspective of reduced-size copies of masterpieces.

Already popular during antiquity, these “miniaturized” copies are symptomatic of a refined, sophisticated taste, and in the Renaissance they were coveted, collected and imitated, as ancient styles were updated according to contemporary tastes.

In setting up this exhibition OMA has, room by room, adhered to the size and atmosphere of a Renaissance studiolo: not in the sense of a piece of furniture (like the studiolo commissioned by Nicolò Orsini), but in the sense of a study where it was customary to collect precious objects, from manuscripts to small antiquities. Contemporary materials (polycarbonate walls, acrylic vitrines) act as a filter between the sumptuous domestic spaces of Ca’ Corner della Regina and the exhibition objects, diffusing light and heightening the qualities of the artworks on display.