The Museo delle Culture was created thanks to the donation of Serge Brignoni's collection of ethnic art. The genres and geographical origins of the works in the collection reflect those most commonly found in European, Australian and North American collections of the mid-twentieth century, and there is hardly a lack of "pieces" of what were considered the must-have collectibles of the time. Most of the works come from the Far East, India, South-East Asia, Indonesia and Oceania.
In order to understand why the artist from Ticino collected thousands of works from regions and cultures on the other side of the world throughout his life, it is necessary to delve into the artist's biography and investigate the dense network of relations he maintained from the mid-1920s with the exponents of the Parisian avant-garde, in particular the French Surrealist movement. Brignoni's passion for 'primitive' art was born as a result of his contact with the Parisian environment. The works in the Collection are the expression of a refined choice that privileges the best executed artefacts. On the whole, Brignoni's taste is markedly inclined towards works of a sculptural nature, and it is worth noting his sensitivity in his very particular choice of exclusively wooden sculptures, marked by expressionistic content and creative methods and distinguished by a particular richness of design and pictorial decoration.
A careful study of the Brignoni collection by the Museum's researchers has resulted in the publication of two scientific catalogues available in Italian and English.
Works from the Museo delle Culture's Brignoni collection have been exhibited on several occasions in various museum venues, such as Quai Branly in Paris and Rietberg in Zurich. Some examples of these collaborations are illustrated in the photogallery.
With the relocation of the MUSEC to Villa Malpensata, today only a part of the masterpieces of the Brignoni Collection are exhibited in the Spazio Tesoro. The three exhibition floors host, in rotation, temporary exhibitions of different themes and artistic genres.