Bocconi Art Gallery- The Beauty We Live In

Have you ever wondered how it could be to walk around the campus surrounded by stunning works of art? Well, you can stop wondering and open up your eyes!

Bocconi Art Gallery, since its start back in 2009, has been capable of attracting precious works of renowned artists from all over the world, beautifully adorning the living spaces of the Campus, always offering an oxygenating breath outside the back-to-back scheduled lectures routine.

The works, originally hosted in loans, have been several times donated by the generosity of the artists to the University, which today reached a relevant collection of 17 permanent contemporary art works and dozens of those showcased each year, ranging from Kaufmann to Mitoraj, from Isgrò to Pistoletto and Paladino, sometimes becoming also a symbol of the institution itself, as for the case of the “Knowledge that matters” writing by Lorenzo Petrantoni outside the Rӧntgen building.

Throughout these years, the Art Gallery has also hosted welcoming parties, with guided visits open to citizenship and cultural events like the silent piano concerto for the last edition in September 2023.

But why the need to talk about this? First of all, we must notice that among the vast number of initiatives and projects held by a not for profit culturally relevant and active institution like Bocconi, art cannot simply be forgotten; the evolution of the campus throughout the decades has contributed to the construction of a new landscape, which art has to be part of. Works around buildings not only lend a hand to take a look at the everchanging social context that surrounds us, but are also a lens through which our gaze can be oriented and trained to understand the complex patterns of the world outside. 

Social sciences in their profound nature originate from eyes full of astonishment, wondering what we could do and how could we try to make our existence better upon this planet. These eyes are by definition artistic ones. 

The beautiful architectural setting that shapes the campus needs to be empowered and matched by the beautiness of adorning works decorating its walls and spaces, sustaining the idea of a contemporary living institution that refreshes itself through the process of breathing culture.

For us as students, the collection is an incredible occasion to approach wonderful examples of artistic creation that come out of the reflection of amazing minds, betting what they could mean to us,  as well as a time to experience the opportunity to freely access them each and every day, interacting and treating them as living entities. 

This living art is what enriches the quality of our time, the feeling to work and to study in a university which is also a gallery displaying different meaningful senses of life and intellectual creation, where both those who teach and who learn can recognise themselves as human beings in the wonderful process of shining a light to understand and construct their future.

One of the works I was most struck by is a huge oil on canvas (295×900 cm) by Massimo Kaufmann called “Clinamen”. 

(Credit: lamiacameraconvista.com)

The work is part of a cycle exploring the Epicurean theory related to the fall of the atoms: Epicurus thought atoms were falling in parallel lines, and by chance some of them were at some point deviating from this trajectory, hitting other atoms and creating all the objects and bodies of the world. This deviation, known in Greek as “parenklisis” and translated by the Latin poet Lucretius with “clinamen” is thus the creative principle of all, and magnificently represented by Kaufmann in this scheme of parallel coloured lines that are mixing with a whirlwind of dots, shaping the different masses of reality around us. 

This work, so rich of phylosophical reflection and yet so impactful with its bright colours, can be seen as a perfect metaphore fitting the environment where it is hosted: a university, made by different people gathering in one place of culture, crossing their trajectories to understand their present and build their future. 

The gallery is again the possibility to create and follow new paths starting in one place and exploring millions of different directions, as different and original among themselves as our lives can be, relying just on the simple and limitless power of beauty. 

by Lorenzo Tortoioli