American artist Joseph Kosuth created an installation with a neon quote from Dante Alighieri's Convivio, Greek-Italian sculptor Jannis Kounnelis nailed long rows of shoes to the walls with metal bars, Michelangelo Pistoletto exhibits Intermediterraneo, a painting on a methylacrylate mirror, and there are two canvases by Neapolitan painter Carlo Alfano and multicoloured mosaics by Nicola De Maria along the corridors.
Achille Bonito Oliva offers the following comments on his choice of artists: "The selection of five internationally renowned artists representing different forms of expression manages to offer a worthy celebration of Gae Aulenti's architecture, working to create a relationship of continuity between inside and out, high and low, light and shadow and celebrate a Dante-like descent into the underworld with a simultaneous ascent."
Gae Aulenti also renewed historical Piazza Dante: the pavement of Etna stone reproduces the original eighteenth-century design by Luigi Vanvitelli, into which the glassed-in platform offering access to the subway station is set discretely and elegantly.
"It's a more direct way of allowing people to get used to contemporary art.
We want to help break down the psychological barrier typical of many people who are used to thinking that contemporary architecture is meant to be kept in inaccessible sanctuaries" comments the architect, who has worked with spaces for art in the past: he is the man behind the Musee d'Orsay in Paris and the recent renovation of the Papal Stables in Rome, converted into a temporary exhibition space.
Photos: Barbara Jodice