It goes without saying that these works stand next to works that are based on a completely different way of thinking, such as those in which a concept aimed at reification can also be found in more recent manifestations of a purely self-referential work of art. Similarly, this includes those works in which the incorporation of banal realities as well as relics, signs and visual phenomena from everyday life are constitutive in the artistic context or in which quotations from memes echoed from the media, entertainment or consumption are decisive for their statement.
Basically, the VAF Foundation’s credo of its art collection still needs to be reaffirmed. It does not want to offer solely an objective journey through its holdings, which is limited to the presentation of visual facts and data; rather, it is much more about using the aesthetic and semantic messages that are concentrated in the works of art to unfold a panorama of what artists perceive as essential facts in their time, and it should show what occupies creative minds, what inspires them, what they want to say, what motivates them to do artistic work and what means they use to achieve this.
It is about the balance of the diverse creative reactions of artists as to what they did in their time, and what they experienced in their everyday reality and in their world view; it is about the drives and goals of artistic creation, of thinking and feeling, as well as of communicating the individual’s processing of the manifestations of the zeitgeist in the form of works of art.
In particular, this guides the view of those responsible in the VAF Foundation for the production of art in the present day; constant communication with young artists is a premise of the work of the VAF Foundation’s Board of Trustees and the Management Board. By making regular acquisitions of the most recent works art being produced, care is taken to ensure that the VAF Foundation documents the progress of art development within its collection.
Starting from the first years of the 20th century, the content-related classifications of art development are now listed by scientific classifications, well-known style names and brief explanations, in chronological order, for all these programmatic intentions, basic intellectual motifs, themes and ‘moments of movement’ in the progress of art history in Italy. The works of art from the VAF Foundation’s collection are assigned to these individual classifications, and their content is subsumed under the respective stylistic characteristics.
Finally, answers to any objections that can be expected with certainty from experts in Italian art over the past 100 years should be anticipated at this point. It is noticeable, without a doubt, that there are evident gaps in the registers of the names and in the entries for the individual art initiatives; this applies most of all to the second half of the 20th century, when, of all things, some of the most renowned actors in the art world as well as the contributions by Italian artists that have received the greatest global attention are missing. It is a fact that this applies in a remarkable way to tendencies that are paradigms for Italy’s artistic identity, such as “Spazialismo”, “Arte Povera” and “Transavanguardia”. In view of the high level of artistic standards that those responsible in the VAF Foundation’s committees claim for themselves, this undisputedly calls for an explanation. In the reasoning in this regard, the VAF Foundation can initially refer to the fact that its collection policy for the first half of the 20th century was careful to follow established art-historical guidelines with regard to the distinctive positions of the world of art. Concerning art developments after 1945, there came into effect a collecting strategy that can only be described as a decidedly non-conformist.
The VAF Foundation’s collection policy has changed over the course of the last few years in such a way that it tends to ignore the assignations relating to art after 1945, which determine the course of the mainstream. Contradicting historical interpretations, the Foundation made a conscious decision to track down the repressed, forgotten and undervalued positions and names in Italian art and retrieve awareness of them. This is understood to mean those who, despite their often highly interesting approaches, are mostly not mentioned in the codified canon of contemporary Italian art history.
The idiosyncratic profiling that the VAF Foundation was able to achieve with its collection strategy was ultimately based on the idea that it would be possible to use examples from the Foundation’s holdings to present an additional historical aspect for discussion. The point here is not to propose rewriting modern Italian art history, but the Foundation would consider it a success if some of the aspects that are stimulated by the collection were also incorporated into the official school of thought.
A large part of the VAF Foundation’s art holdings is on loan at Mart, the Museo d’arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto. The Foundation works closely with Mart and this is also where its administrative and communications headquarters are located.
The collection is constantly being expanded and completed through acquisitions.