The Fondazione Morra - Istituto di Scienze delle Comunicazioni Visive aims to promote and organise research and to develop and spread the culture of visual communication.
The Fondazione Morra traces its origins to the “Studio Morra”, which began operating in 1974. Giuseppe Morra, who had always been fascinated by the subversive potential of the avant-garde, was one of the first in Italy to promote artists coming from Viennese Actionism and Body Art. In the seventies, the studio hosted artists such as Hermann Nitsch, Günther Brus, Urs Lüthi, Gina Pane, Joe Jones, Marina Abramovic, Bob Watts and Peter Kubelka. The early eighties saw the first exhibitions by the Fluxus group, whose art goes beyond structure, understood as an action in the present, in real space. For Fluxus, art is an event that incorporates all disciplines and styles, so the times of art and life become one and the same, where any object, any gesture, wherever they come from, can cross the threshold of art. In the late eighties, the Studio focused primarily on Visual Poetry, holding numerous exhibitions with the most influential visual poets, such as Carrega, Luca, Martini, Miccini, Pignotti, and Chopin, becoming one of the most important centres for visual poetry in Italy. Visual poetry examines mass communication and is, at the same time, its channel of expression. In the nineties, a series of exhibitions were devoted to the up-and-coming artists and trends of the day. One of these was Bruno Munari's 1990 “Sculture nella città” (Sculptures in the City), comprising a selection of large metal sculptures displayed along the Naples waterfront. The sculptures became signals for the imagination, intriguing viewers and stimulating their imaginations. 1992 saw the reconstruction of four Environments by Allan Kaprow. As the creator of the ‘Environment’, Kaprow sees art as the material expression of feelings, desires, and emotions, where the viewer is no longer a passive contemplator of objects, but an active protagonist of movement, crossing the threshold of art. In the same year, Studio Morra moved from the Chiaia district to the Rione Sanità and became the Fondazione Morra, whose artistic and cultural raison d'être is “art for the sake of research and knowledge”, strongly affirming the social purpose of cultural promotion as a means of re-evaluating particularly problematic social contexts. On September 13th 2008, the new head office/museum was opened at number 29d Vico Lungo Pontecorvo. It consists of the Museum Archive/Hermann Nitsch Workshop, a place where the works of Hermann Nitsch are brought together and displayed, but also a culturally active centre, engaged in critical and theoretical reflection on the work of this great Austrian artist, organised according to a set of core principles:
- the Centre for Documentation, Research and Training. Here texts, images and events from the twentieth century onwards are digitalised and the website is kept up to date
- the Department of Independent Experimental Film
- the Contemporary Music Library, from 1940 to the present day
- the Centre for the Performing Arts and Multimedia. The Centre is computerised and has the potential for connection and streamlining with planned future archives
- the Library of the Avant-garde and Neo-avant-garde. This is a new space in a building next to the Nitsch Museum covering an area of approximately 240m2
On October 28th 2016, Giuseppe Morra opened a new museum, Casa Morra - Archivio d'Arte Contemporanea, in Palazzo Ayerbo D’Aragona Cassano, a 4,200m2 complex that will gradually be refurbished to house the large Morra collection, consisting of over 2,000 works. It will also host exhibitions dedicated to the artists of the Fondazione and those of the youngest generation. Casa Morra is a dynamic space set up to stimulate reflection and research on society and its evolution; it is a “house of ideas” and a centre for environmental rehabilitation, social innovation, and a residence for artists, as well as a home to creativity, research, practice, workshops, poetry, theatre, music, cinema, seminars, conventions and meetings.
The Fondazione Morra not only promotes and organises research, developing and spreading the culture of visual communication, but it is also dedicated to producing and handing contemporary culture down across the generations. In the light of the work carried out in its various departments, and especially bearing in mind its socio-cultural context, the Fondazione aims to set up activities geared to an authentic reading of the complex dynamics that arise within the micro- and macro social systems of production and the economy of the “culture of communication”. These activities will promote projects with independent groups and institutions in order to involve and recruit those wishing to promote communities able to develop, and put to good use, the resources of the cultural territories. The Fondazione is registered in the Regional Government's “High Culture” Registry and was recognised as a Museum of Local Interest in 2007 after registration as a legal entity in 2005.
The Fondazione Morracollaborates with numerous bodies at home and abroad, including the Kaprow Estate,Los Angeles –Rome, MAXXI Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo –Rome, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna -Rome, MACRO Museo d'Arte Contemporanea di Roma – Torino, GAM Galleria Civica d’arte moderna e contemporanea - The University of Texas at Dallas - the Faculty of Architecture at the “Federico II” University of Naples, and the Departments of Philosophy and Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Salerno, the Fondazione Donnaregina per le arti contemporanee-museo MADRE - Naples, PAN Palazzo delle Arti Napoli - Naples, the Centro per l’arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci - Prato, the Accademia delle Belle Arti - Naples, the Accademia delle Belle Arti - Brera, the ISA Universidad de las Artes , Cuba, Mart - il museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Fondazione Mudima – Milan, the Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation - Vienna, the Anthology Film Archives - New York, and the Al Hansen Archive - California.