In addition to founding worldwide fashion brand the Benetton Group and serving as senator of a liberal Italian political party (1992-94), Luciano Benetton has been collecting and commissioning works by emerging and established artists. Over 1,000 artworks from his holdings form the exhibition "Imago Mundi," opening this month at the Querini Stampalia Foundation in Venice (Aug. 28-Oct. 27) as a collateral event of the 55th Venice Biennale. (The Biennale is on view through Nov. 24.) Though the works are culturally and artistically diverse, in one way they are all the same—they are no larger than approximately 4 by 4½ inches.
The roster includes Laurie Anderson and David Byrne from the United States; Thota Vaikuntham Hema Upadhyay from India; Japan's Keizaburo Okamura; Buhm Hong from South Korea; and the Australian Ngoia Pollard. "Imago Mundi" also features works by artists from throughout Latin America, China, Mongolia and countries of the former Soviet Union. Future shows from Benetton's collection will present work from African artists, according to a press release.
The Luciano Benetton Art Collection is housed at the Treviso-based Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche and aims to embrace cultural diversity and cross-cultural dialogue. "Imago Mundi" is curated by Benetton in collaboration with Laura Pollini, formerly with the Benetton Group, and designed by architect Tobia Scarpa.
The Benetton family created Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche in 1987. It is dedicated to promoting the cultural heritage of Treviso, where the Benetton family hails from.