Reaching the Hangar Bicocca is pretty simple: just get off at the metro station of Ponale and start walking in via Chiese. The first thing you’ll see is the Bicocca Village shopping center: huge and bright, it occupies all the space and does not allow you to see beyond its wide windows. Don’t worry: just follow the signs to the Hangar, cross the huge parking lot and, in no time at all, you will see in front of you a building completely different from the mall. You’ve found it: it’s the Hangar Bicocca, one of the most exclusive and interesting locations of Milan.
1903, Milan. The engineer Ernesto Breda decided to move his company, Breda, in the working-class district of Bicocca. Other businessmen decided to follow his decision as well, and, soon, the Bicocca district became one of the most important industrial areas throughout Italy.
Breda bought 200,000 square meters, which used to produce agricultural machinery, bullets, planes and other products. Among the 200,000 square meters, there was also a space known as Hangar Bicocca, divided according to the type of items produced. For example, there was the Shed, a quite small building aimed at the production of locomotives and farm equipment; and there was the Cube, a cube-shaped building with a barrel vault, connected to the Shed by The Aisles.
In the 80s, the Breda was sold to the Ansaldo company: this is the start of the decline of industrialism and the urban growth of Bicocca. Many buildings appeared for this purpose: the university, private residences, the Arcimboldi Theatre. Bicocca soon changed its looks and became residential, abandoning its industrial side.
In 2004, still standing but with no purpose at all, the Hangar Bicocca saw a renovation period which turned it into a space for contemporary art exhibitions: the building, however, has not changed its look, not even a bit.
Entering the Hangar mean becoming a witness of the past time, a time when industrial production used to excel, and witnessing the present, made of contemporary art treasured in a building History has not changed.
The Hangar Bicocca space is large enough to accommodate several exhibitions. Upon arriving in front of the Hangar, you’ll find yourself in a large square. Just open the glass door to get inside. The guides will inform you about the exhibitions and accompany you to them.
The permanent installation of Hangar Bicocca is Anselm Kiefer’s The Seven Heavenly Palaces. Projected by the artist in 2004 to perfectly suit the Hangar, the installation consists of five large paintings and seven towers: the public is moved by the immensity of this work of art, which reduces humanity to its earthly dimension.
One of the temporary installations, available until February, is Philippe Parreno’s Hypotesis. In his work, Parreno uses different media, such as movies, videos, music, writings and drawings. Hypotesis is Parreno’s first retrospective exhibition in Italy: it is conceived as a space in which a series of events take place one after the other, as if they were dancing.
The exhibition will stay up until February 14th, after which the Hangar Bicocca will re-open its door to other leading artists of the international scene.
Official website: www.hangarbicocca.org