Named after Mario Merz, the Fondazione was established in 2005 as a centre for Contemporary Art with the intent to host exhibitions, events, education-related activities, and to further research and explore art.
Presided over by Beatrice Merz, the Fondazione makes use of the collaboration of a scientific committee comprising, Vicente Todolí (artistic advisor at Hangar Bicocca, Milano), Frances Morris (Director at Tate Modern, London), Richard Flood (Former Director of Special Projects & Curator at Large of the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York) and Mariano Boggia (Merz’s Collection Manager).
The Foundation alternates shows dedicated to Mario and Marisa Merz, to discover and contemplate their work, with other major site-specific projects by national and international artists, who are invited to interact with the space of the Fondazione and its collections. It also cultivates research, exploring the new generations of artists with regular temporary shows.
It organizes art events, such as the visual arts and music shows Meteorite in Giardino and Scusi, non capisco that every year integrate multiple disciplines relating to contemporary culture.
The Education Department offers a variety of initiatives for different audiences to advance appreciation for contemporary art: guided tours, workshops for students, training for educators, and visitor services free of charge.
The Library is specialized in Modern and Contemporary Art History and Criticism and is complemented by the Merz Archives, which encompass a complete collection of the artist’s work. Both engage specialized audiences of art scholars and students.
The Mario Merz Prize is a biennial prize that aims to recognize talents in the fields of contemporary art and music composition through the expertise of an extensive international network of professionals. The project creates a new circuit of shows and music initiatives connecting Italy and Switzerland.
Fondazione Merz does not only work in its historical premises: in addition to projects and collaborations with major international organizations, the foundation is activating a new operating network to develop projects—not limited to exhibitions—in the Mediterranean and Central European regions: border areas where cultures, people and traditions converge.
The Fondazione’s building, a former heating plant for the Lancia factory, a fascinating example of industrial architecture from the 1930s owned by the Città di Torino and given in concession to the Fondazione Merz. It is located in Borgo San Paolo, an area now undergoing the urban and cultural revitalisation and refurbishment affecting much of Turin in recent years.
The refurbishment and restoration, supported by both private and public funds (City of Torino and Region Piemonte), has affected the whole building, defining the interior spaces and taking into account the cultural purposes the Fondazione intends pursuing.
Its activities are self-financed with the support of a network of donors, funding from Regione Piemonte and Compagnia di San Paolo. Some projects are made possible also thanks to the support of Fondazione CRT.