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MACCA ‒ the new open-air museum between Pisa and Volterra

Over 70 works of contemporary art created by Italian and international artists. A constantly expanding 'widespread' museum that acts as a way to visit the town of Peccioli and its local area

MACCA Peccioli contemporary art museum
By Redazione The Plan -

An open-air 'widespread' museum that prompts us to explore the Peccioli community and its local area, through more than 70 works of contemporary art created by Italian and international artists. The MACCA (the letters stand for open-air museum of contemporary art in Italian) opened recently in the heart of the Valdera area, among the beautiful hills between Pisa and Volterra. It also unveiled three new public artworks, which go to join those already previous created during a lengthy project that began 30 years ago and that has taken this Tuscan town to become the 'little Italian capital of contemporary art'.

Inaugurated last spring, the MACCA is an institute under Peccioli town council and is also supported by Fondazione Peccioliper and Belvedere spa. It is the first example of an institute spread out over the local area and bringing together, under a single management, art projects dotted throughout the town and its adjoining hamlets. Given the potential underlined by its inauguration and the reaction it has stirred, the planned activities ‒ including close collaboration with the Archaeological Museum, which reopened with a new layout and was recently named as a museum of national importance by the Ministry of Culture ‒ stand as excellent examples for taking art beyond its customary boundaries.

The new MACCA collection, featuring various large-scale installations, is constantly expanding: one of the project goals is in fact to salvage many of the public spaces in the local communities so as to breathe new life into places that have been overlooked and often suffered through neglect. Therefore, we should not be thinking in terms of visiting themed shows with time- and space-based restraints, but of commissions entrusted to various artists to create works that adapt to the local area and to the passing of time, shaping a full-scale open-air museum over the years, one embedded in its surrounding context and nature. This makes MACCA a place of excellence for anyone who loves to stroll among art, architecture and nature.


>>> Saturday saw the opening of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of Venice. Curated by Leslie Lokko, it welcomes visitors at the city's Giardini and Arsenale until 26 November

MACCA © Archivio fotografico Fondazione Peccioliper, photo by Andrea Testi

How to design a local area: from young Brera artists to prestigious international names

Art as a resource and a tool for reshaping towns, villages and their local area. The idea of MACCA as a contemporary art park first emerged in 1991, when the local administration identified the need to set up an art-based cultural experience able to withstand time. Something that could make its context stand out and leave its mark.

This idea led to the commissioning of projects from various artists, such as Hidetoshi Nagasawa, the well-known Japanese performance artist, sculptor and architect who spent the last years of his life in Milan and taught sculpture at the NABA, Vladimir Dubosarsky, the Russian painter who emerged through his pop art, Vittorio Corsini, the versatile artist exploring living spaces and habits, and Federico De Leonardis, a professional who put down roots in art only at the age of 40, after training as an engineer and architect.


Museo Archeologico © Archivio fotografico Fondazione Peccioliper, photo by Andrea Testi


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These well-known names from the international scene are found alongside those of young artists from the Brera Academy for fine arts in Milan, with which the local council has set up solid and productive collaboration: the students can get first-hand experience and prove themselves under prominent patronage, as is a local council.

Given the manifold and yet individual presence of these artists and their works, the MACCA does not adhere to an underlying theme ‒ and its uniqueness in fact resides in this factor, making it so appealing. All one-offs and funded by Peccioli town council, the works are extremely varied in nature and range through all the art sectors, from architecture to photography to installations, enhancing the local area and conveying to onlookers seeing them for the first time as well as those who have known them a lifetime a different and alternative perspective, where local history and traditions blend with the contemporary world through the artists' visions.

"Museums as a boundary-less experience, to investigate and explore, in the open air. And art as a tool for visiting the local area and its most hidden spots, touring the hamlets of Ghizzano, Legoli, Montecchio and Fabbrica. Imagine reaching the refuse and waste treatment facilities and understanding that such a place can exist alongside works of arts and a theatre ‒ this too is a work. Or another example is being able to park in the multistory car park and stroll along a colorful walkway, a spiral taking its users to see the view of the valley and to discover that the same panorama is provided on the opposite side by the terrace of the Palazzo Senza Tempo building ‒ another cardinal point in the town's regeneration process." Introductory text in the MACCA brochure


What to see at the MACCA

Marcella Del Signore, Aerio, 2021 © Archivio fotografico Fondazione Peccioliper, photo by Andrea Testi

Some of the musts along the MACCA route are certainly the latest three works by Vittorio Corsini, Marcella Del Signore and Maria Perbellini-Christian Pongratz, unveiled last 25 March along with the museum itself. Together with these are the Cortile ('courtyard') creations: a reconstruction, with rush-seat chairs and fig trees, of the time-honored 'farmhouse vigils' by the already mentioned Vittorio Corsini. Another is the project Il cielo accanto ('the neighboring sky'), created during four different periods and developed within the streets of Peccioli.

Also interesting is Lightmood. This light-based installation is connected to an algorithm: depending on what is written on the various linked social medias, it conveys individuals' feelings ‒ in real time ‒ by switching to a color to represent the dominant mood.

Instead, the horizon in the Tuscan countryside is picked up on and redrawn by a work where panels feature the color degrees of the sky. Lastly, walk along the Belvedere in town to have the impression of being observed by Peccioli's residents, who appear in a long series of photographs displayed on the walls.


>>> The show Home Sweet Home that Triennale Milano is presenting to mark its centenary can be viewed until 10 September



Location: Peccioli, Pisa, Italy
Photography by Andrea Testi, © Archivio fotografico Fondazione Peccioliper

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