For contemporary art lovers visiting Naples there is a whole "underground" world to discover. The artistic project of the Naples underground is in fact one of the most interesting Italian experiments of permanent insertion of works of contemporary art in an urban context. The first to be filled with colors, mosaics, installations, sculptures and photographs were the stations of Line 1: Museum - Dante - Salvator Rosa - Materdei - Cilea / Four Days - Vanvitelli - Rione Alto to which they have recently additions University, Toledo, Garibaldi and City Hall. The project also extended to Line 6 with the following stations: Lala - Mergellina - Augusto - Mostra. But what are the art stations special?
Well, not all cities have such an important outdoor museum at the cost of a simple metro ticket. Not everywhere happens that going to take a train to get to a different area of the city you are looking to see some real artistic masterpieces between escalators and docks. For the most distracted, so much art can simply represent a color note between obligatory routes, races and expectations. For the more attentive, an opportunity for reflection and observation. Therefore art loses its sacredness and can be found everywhere, not only in museums. This beautiful concept of open museum makes the subway of Naples one of the most fascinating in the world and accompanies the viewer on his daily journey. In addition to this, in some areas of the city, the works of local and international artists have been the starting point for a significant redevelopment of the surrounding area. Let's go now to discover the new art stations: Garibaldi, Municipio, Toledo and University.
Garibaldi station has undergone an important redevelopment project, becoming a nice visiting card for tourists arriving in the city by train. The exterior of the railway complex was in fact occupied by a square covered by a metal and glass structure that in the area below houses shops and stairs that lead to the docks. Once you have finished the long and "futuristic" path between the suspended escalators you will come across a mirrored wall with photographs of passengers, life size, waiting or moving. These are the two installations by Michelangelo Pistoletto, an artist from Biella, entitled Stazione. The purpose is to make the "real" passengers interact with the "fake" ones included in the work.
Similarly to the Garibaldi station, the area surrounding the Municipio station has also been significantly redeveloped. A short distance from the entrance of the metro, in fact, a square houses the fountain of 1500 dedicated to the god Neptune. The importance of the Municipio station lies in its proximity to the most important port of the city (Much Beverello), a place rich in archaeological evidence. During the works were in fact found remains of the ancient port of Neapolis, buildings of the Angevin age and defense systems linked to the construction of the Maschio Angioino. Portuguese are the architects who took care of the project of this station: Àlvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura, to whom we owe the use of lava stone, white plaster and the purity of the lines that characterize the interior of this station. In it is also present the work of contemporary artist Michal Rovner named Passaggi, a video installation that shows shots of the city of Naples, but also Jerusalem and Paris interspersed with human figures in the distance.
The University station is only six years old. Designed in 2011 by architects Karim Rashid and Alessandro Mendini, it is one of the most colorful of the line 1. The walls leading to the docks show strong fuchsia and lime colors and in the center of the light box underground entrance, steel sculptures and black pillars recall the communications between humans and synapses between brain neurons. Works like Synapsis, Ikon, Conversation profile want to underline the importance of communication in a bridge between past and present. This particular aspect is underlined by the presence, at the second level, of the images of Dante Alighieri and Beatrice Portinari, the greatest exponent of Italian poetry and his muse.
Toledo station has been elected the most beautiful european station by CNN and by the British newspaper Daily Telegraph . Also very recently (2012), it was designed by the Spanish architect Oscar Tusquets Blanca. The most striking work of this station is Crater de luz, a work by Robert Wilson, which connects the inside with the exterior and recalls the sea in its thousand facets, as well as the undulating walls that surround it. The brightness and colors that fill the space with different shades of blue fascinate thousands of passengers every year. The same artist is in fact a digital installation that repeats the waves of the sea for a surface of 24 meters and covers the walls of the corridor that leads to the quay, By the sea ... you and me is the title of the work. Inside the station everything recalls the past and recent history of Naples. On the first basement you can admire the remains of the Aragonese walls that surrounded the area in medieval times, in the atrium you can find two events related to the Neapolitan people depicted in two beautiful and colorful mosaics: a procession led by St. Gennaro, patron saint of the city and a scene that recalls the works for the construction of the subway (Central Railway for the city of Naples, 1906; Reclamation of the lower quarters of Naples in relation to the metropolitan railway, 1884).