To commemorate Wes Anderson’s eleventh film, Asteroid City, to be released in Italian cinemas at the end of the month, an exhibition has opened in Milan, in the spaces of the Fondazione Prada, in which visitors immerse themselves in the director’s creative universe. The connection between Wes Anderson and the Fondazione Prada writes a new chapter with this exhibition. The relationship between the fashion house and the director reached perhaps its highest point with the splendid Bar Luce, which, inspired by two masterpieces of Italian Neorealism – Miracolo a Milano (1951) by Vittorio De Sica and Rocco e i suoi fratelli (1960) by Luchino Visconti – catapults visitors into the atmosphere of a typical café in old Milan.
The director’s unique cinematic aesthetic often returns in his projects. His passion for symmetry and the photographic composition of images is also omnipresent in the exhibition, which focuses on Asteroid City. Having just returned from London, the exhibition has landed in Milan, where it will be open until 7 January 2024.
“Wes Anderson – Asteroid City: Exhibition” was set up in the Foundation’s North Gallery, a glabrous space of clear industrial derivation, deliberately kept bare to denounce its being purely scenographic. Against this background, a selection of props, models, costumes, original sets and artwork from the film stand out.
Immersive installations envelop visitors with the images and sounds of the film, transporting them to an imaginary American city in the desert in the mid-1950s. The American utopia in which anything is possible is omnipresent, and returns emblematically in the vending machines, which seem to be able to realise any dream with immediate effect: cigarettes, snacks, cocktails, candy, even ‘real estate’.
Ironically evoking collective fears (the atomic bomb) and individual fears (loneliness), Asteroid City constitutes a further development of the American director’s original and refined poetics. The space of the film is a purely cinematographic creation, Asteroid City never existed, it is not a real city, but a place full of objects, colours, animals, plants, clothes, music, songs, books and newspapers that populate the imagination of the spectator of the film as well as the visitor to the exhibition.
This is the case of the bird exhibited in one of the showcases, typical fauna of the desert environment in which the film is projected, a sort of Beep Beep, capable of running up to 25Km/h., one of the many presences masterfully described by the American author who always takes us to fantastic worlds.
Photo © Delfino Sisto Legnani – DSL Studio, courtesy Fondazione Prada