A former car racing track across the roof of one of Turin’s most famous buildings has been transformed into a new exhibition space. La Pista 500 public art space—a star attraction at the relaunched Pinacoteca Agnelli art hub—is located on top of the famous 1920s Lingotto venue, which once housed the former Fiat car factory. Works by seven artists including Shilpa Gupta, Louise Lawler, Mark Leckey, Valie Export and Cally Spooner are dotted around the alfresco area—covered with more than 40,000 plants—which is open to the public for the first time.
Fiat used to test its cars on the rooftop track which featured in the 1969 film The Italian Job with Michael Caine. The artists selected for the inaugural La Pista 500 display have reflected on “the history of the former Fiat factory and the industrial architecture of our building”, says Sarah Cosulich, the artistic director of the Pinacoteca Agnelli.
Leckey’s piece, Beneath My Feet Begin to Crumble, comprises a 14m projection on the south parabolic curve of the former Fiat factory testing track. “Leckey transports the Alps mountains onto the track to produce a CGI [computer-generated] vision of their peaks,” a project statement says. The Austrian artist Valie Export is showing Die Doppelgängerin (2010), a monumental bronze sculpture representing two intertwined gigantic scissors.
“Very few people had seen this rooftop area before,” Cosulich says, adding that “the new programme at the Pinacoteca has a more international and contemporary identity, which bridges its historic collection [with contemporary art]”. La Pista 500 forms part of the revamped Pinacoteca Agnelli which has been transformed into a major new cultural centre in the northern Italian city. The space, backed by Fiat, is run by a foundation that has members of the Agnelli family on the board. The glamorous Agnelli dynasty, synonymous with Turin, also amassed a substantial art collection.
An exhibition held in the Scrigno space draws on the Giovanni and Marella Agnelli Collection, consisting of 25 works housed at the Pinacoteca acquired by the late head of Fiat and his wife; artists featured include Canaletto, Matisse and Modigliani. The first initiative in a new series, known as Beyond the Collection, juxtaposes Picasso's portrait—Homme appuyé sur une table (1915-16) from the Agnelli collection—with three portraits depicting Dora Maar: La femme qui pleure (1927), Buste de femme au chapeau (1939), and Femme en vert (1944). The three Picasso works are on loan from the Fondation Beyeler in Basel.
Another launch show at the reborn Pinacoteca is dedicated to Sylvie Fleury (until 15 January 2023), which is billed as the biggest exhibition ever held in Italy on the Geneva-born artist. ”The unique site resonates with Turn Me On, Fleury’s solo exhibition,” Cosulich adds. The show, located on the third floor of the Lingotto building, includes objects, symbols and imagery from She-Devils on Wheels, a car fan club open only to people who identify as women, which was founded by Fleury in the 1990s.