Art beyond the Venice Biennale

Catering and Occupancy After buying the Casa dei Tre Oci on the Giudecca in Venice last year for the institute that bears his name, inv...


After buying the Casa dei Tre Oci on the Giudecca in Venice last year for the institute that bears his name, investor and philanthropist Nicolas Berggruen announced in March that he had purchased another Venetian palace, the Palazzo Diedo, to house a new cultural initiative: Berggruen Arts & Culture, whose opening is scheduled for 2024.

For now, a work by American artist Sterling Ruby has been installed on the facade of Palazzo Diedo (best seen from the Sant’Antonio bridge opposite). It is the first of four projects by the artist to mark “the progress of the restoration, for the palace to come alive, it is already a sign of occupation”, said Mario Codognato, artistic director of Berggruen Arts & Culture, during a visit. at the palace earlier this month.

Mr. Codognato also happens to be the director of the Anish Kapoor Foundation and the Manfrin Project, a new cultural center envisioned by British artist Anish Kapoor, who embarked on his own venture into the Venetian property market by purchasing the Palazzo Priuli Manfrin. to serve as headquarters for his own Venice-based company. Mr Kapoor represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1990, the foundation’s presence in Venice “marks the continuation of a long history with the city”, Mr Codognato said.

Although it is still a construction site, Palazzo Manfrin will open to the public this week in collaboration with an exhibition speak Gallery of the Accademia di Venezia, featuring past and recent works by Mr. Kapoor. At Le Manfrin, for example, a monumental work in situ, “Mount Moriah at the gate of the ghetto”, colonized the ceiling of the entrance hall.

“I don’t know if retrospective is the right word, it’s more of a study of Anish’s work,” Mr. Codognato said, including early works and previously unseen sculptures created with what’s called Kapoor Black. , a “substance so dark that it absorbs more than 99.9% of visible light,” according to the gallery’s website.

“Contemporary art works very well in spaces that have their own history,” said Giulia Foscari, the architect responsible for preserving the Manfrin. In the future, many items – such as wallpaper or wooden frames for long-gone paintings – will be preserved as traces of the palace’s history, she said. But while waiting for it to close to the public on November 9 for new work, “the idea is to show that we are on a construction site,” she said.

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