Paolo Brodbeck Collection

As an entrepreneur in the supply of hydro-sanitary products as well as the president o the Swiss School of Catania, there was little to hint at becoming a passionate enthusiast and collector of contemporary art in the life and career of Paolo Brodbeck (above, in the photo by Tullio Puglia in the magazine Ventiquattro, March 2006). Driven partly by instinct, in 1990 Paolo Brodbeck began collecting small Italian works from the later 20th century at Franco Collica’s gallery Cefaly located in Via Musumeci, in the heart of Gentile-Cusa’s Art-Deco Catania. There he met the owner’s son, Gianluca, with whom he began a collaboration that has lasted to this day.

From 2000 to 2006, in the years of the “Sicilian Spring”, following him closely both as friend and collector, he backed a daring project by Gianluca Collica which saw the hosting of major solo exhibitions by artists such as Ceal Floyer, Lawrence Weiner, Urs Lüthi, Jan Vercruysse , Erwin Wurm, Hans Schabus, Heimo Zobernig. Two books by Louise Bourgeois and Ettore Sottsass were also published. At that point, with a determination typical of his entrepreneurial background, Paolo Brodbeck decided to develop further that passion born out of friendship and a spirit of adventure into a more structured form that might continue and endure over time. And so in November 2007, he established the Fondazione Brodbeck arte contemporanea, housed in a 19th century industrial complex in the heart of the historic and former working-class district of San Cristoforo, just a short distance from the Norman Castle of Catania. He renovated roughly 600 m² out of an overall area of about 6000 m², refurbishing the space for exhibitions and artist residencies.

Begun with the collaboration of the by now inseparable Gianluca Collica and following expert advice by Helmut Friedel (the then director of the Lenbachhaus in Munich) and Giovanni Iovane (freelance curator and teacher at the Brera Academy), the venture of the Foundation has added breadth and quality to the Paolo Brodbeck collection in addition to extending the range with works by contemporary artists, some of whom that have become genuine personal friends.

The substance of a dream

“The collection constitutes one of the most important factors of my actions in the world of art and, in a way, it acts as a catalyst which enables me to convert it into the active part of my share in art. If at the very beginning I practised collecting without any direct commitment to the process which led to the realization of the pieces of art I bought, today I can admit that in most of the cases the purchase is subordinated to the relationship I strike up with an artist or to the support to their work”.

With these words Paolo Brodbeck presents to the public a significant part of his collection which consists of the works of well-known contemporary artists, mainly European, accompanied by four new works of Sicilian artists.

ART IS THE BETTER LIFE

The show of Urs Lüthi at the Fondazione Brodbeck documents varying aspects of the artist’s sculptural work. Although his sculptures have an appearance that seems to contradict their material construction, taken all together they nevertheless form a convincing whole of the artist’s intentions.

Since the beginning of the 1970s, Urs Lüthi has used the self-portrait to analyze the different identities that coexist in each of us; Urs Lüthi’s sculpture thus achieves a particular image of himself and of his identification with culture and its history. Art is the Better Life is an exhibition dedicated to one of the most important artists among the Paolo Brodbeck Collection, Urs Lüthi.

Pittura italiana 1949/2010

This is the first show of the exhibition project called Collection (Collezione), which has been conceived by Gianluca Collica, Fondazione’s art director and curator of Collezione Paolo Brodbeck. The project counts the realization of group art exhibition series (containing collection’s works) and a selection of solo exhibitions dedicated to some artists presented in the collection.

Exhibition artists: Carla Accardi, Franco Angeli, Luciano Bartolini, Domenico Bianchi, Piero Dorazio, Carlo Guaita, Piero Guccione, Renato Guttuso, Titina Maselli, Mario Nigro, Mimmo Paladino, Paolo Parisi, Achille Perilli, Alfredo Pirri, Mimmo Rotella, Piero Ruggeri, Antonio Sanfilippo, Ettore Spalletti, Tancredi, Lorenzo Tornabuoni, Giulio Turcato, Piero Zuccaro