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Postcards of Prato - Elements of living

Urban Center, Centro per l'Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, Italy

Exhibition opening May 11 - June 18 2023

Elements of living - Postcards of Prato was born from the research opportunity on the identity of the city, with its polycentrism and its multiculturalism, carried out in 2022 for the Municipality of Prato in the framework of the drafting of the new Structural Plan. The study investigated the characteristics of living, between public and private spaces, of the Prato urban fabric to document and enhance them to strengthen the structural invariants of the city. Among the products of the research there are two photographic investigations, The sense of living and Elements of Prato, which are reported in this exhibition.


Prato’s context is characterized by contrasts, which has managed to maintain, during the strong changes of recent decades, its character of living despite the inclusion of new communities. The soul of the city is found in its mixité, in the ‘mixture’, as Bernardo Secchi called it, of living and productive spaces; in its being devout, between places of worship and religious effigies on the houses; in its way of relating to the natural environment that surrounds it, between the scenic background of the Calvana and Monferrato mountains and the Bisenzio river.


The photographs on display are a selection of the over 1500 taken and represent gazes that focus attention on elements characterizing the urban fabric which, however, are often invisible because they are part of a widespread everyday life. These, so important in defining a way of living locally, in a phase of great change, such as the one the city is experiencing, risk being lost. However, they must be considered as part of the intangible apparatus of the historic urban landscape determining community relations between public and private space.


For the exhibition Elements of living – Postcards of Prato 50 photographs of the photoreportage The sense of living were selected and composed in 25 printed diptychs coupled by consonances; while on the video is shown a selection of the photo reportage Elements of Prato, made up of 1016 georeferenced images, taken in about 294 streets and squares of the city, and cataloged by categories of architectural and urban elements resulting as identifying of the Prato urban fabric.

The exhibition in the Spazio Incontri of the Centro Pecci was conceived as a continuation of the Urban Center and, therefore, reproposes its set-up methods.

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