"Machines à penser”-Fondazione Prada
Fondazione Prada presents the exhibition “Machines à penser”, from 26th May to 25th Niovember, 2018 curated by Dieter Roelstraete, exploring the correlation between conditions of exile, escape and retreat and physical or mental places which favor reflection, thought and intellectual production.
“Machines à penser” focuses on three major philosophers of the 20th century: Theodor W. Adorno (1903-1969), Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) and Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951). The latter two shared a life-long need for intellectual isolation: Heidegger spent long periods of his life in a secluded hut in the village of Todtnauberg in the Black Forest in Germany, whilst Wittgenstein retreated on several occasions to a small mountain cabin situated in a fjord in Skjolden, Norway. Adorno, on the other hand, was forced into exile from his native Germany during by the Nazi regime, first to Oxford and then to Los Angeles, where he wrote Minima Moralia, a collection of aphorisms that also reflects on the fate of forced emigration. These reflections inspired the installation conceived by the Scottish artist and poet Ian Hamilton Finlay in 1987 titled Adorno’s Hut, a centerpiece of the exhibition alongside architectural reconstructions of the actual huts of Heidegger and Wittgenstein.
The exhibition takes place on the ground floor and on the first floor of the 18th century palazzo, creating an immersive journey that deepens our understanding of these three philosophers and the relationship between philosophy, art and architecture.
The exhibition also includes a historical section focusing on Church father Saint Jerome (347-419), famous for leading the life of an anchorite in the Syrian desert while translating the Bible into Latin. Renaissance paintings and prints dedicated to the iconography of the saint are exhibited alongside a Renaissance studiolo containing, among other items, first editions of Heidegger and Wittgenstein’s writings, its outer walls clad in a site-specific installation by the Scottish artist-poet Alec Finlay titled Hutopia (2018).