Many are familiar with the dual aim of the construction of the new MetroNapoli: easing urban transportation woes while providing a small escape from “the real world” through art. Five of the city’s metro stations have been turned into “art stations” showcasing the genius of modern artists all over the world.
Contributors include New Yorker Karim Rashid (featured in Italian Journal Volume 20:7) and South African William Kentridge (featured in Italian Journal Volume 20:8) as well as a host of others, many Italian. The terminals are ablaze with colors, images, and interesting architecture that highlights the history of Naples as well as the personal lives of the artists and architects involved. Each station has its own theme, character, and liveliness, and what used to be a drab metro station is now a cultural hotspot.
The Materdei station, planned by architect Atelier Mendini, features artwork from Sandro Chia, Luigi Serafini, and Domenico Bianchi. However, the highlight of this bustling station is the central corridor, covered in the vibrant “Wall Drawings,” by Sol LeWitt. The corridor ends in a fiberglass sculpture by LeWitt called “Splotches” which is similarly colorful and cheery. LeWitt, an American artist known as “father of minimal art”, lived for about a decade in Spoleto in the 1980s and maintained ties with Italy even after leaving. His art at Materdei station was one of his last projects, as he died from cancer complications shortly afterwards.