Fondazione Merz

Foundation

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.

Born and developed in open contrast to the concept of art as monument, that is, as a powerful but static image of memory, the Fondazione today interprets its role as the energy powerhouse of art. The place of the works of art, which has gone from being “artist’s house” to a “house for artists”, has inevitably matured its role over the years, changing from an original impulse of survival, and has become a player aware and pro-active with regard to new opportunities.

Chaired by Beatrice Merz, the Fondazione benefits from the collaboration of a scientific committee formed of Frances Morris (Director, Tate Modern, London), Vicente Todolí (Artistic Advisor, Hangar Bicocca, Milan), Richard Flood (Former Director of Special Projects & Curator at Large, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York) and Mariano Boggia (Merz’s Collection Manager) and from the advice of guest curators for the exhibition programmes.

The Fondazione alternates exhibitions dedicated to Mario and Marisa Merz, offering so many opportunities for reflection and study of their work, with other major site-specific projects by national and international artists, who are invited to interact with the Fondazione’s space and its contents in via Limone. It also cultivates research, exploring the new generations of artists with regular temporary shows.

It organises events, including the events of visual arts, contemporary music and theatre entitled Meteorite in Giardino and Scusi non capisco, which every year create an opportunity to establish a dialogue between multiple disciplines relating to contemporary culture.

The Education Department offers a variety of activities and services for different audiences to promote the relationship between the local area and the museum, spreading awareness of the languages and practices of contemporary art: guided tours, student workshops, training for educators, workshops with the artists and visitor services free of charge.

The Library specialises in modern and contemporary art history and criticism. The unusual feature of its reading and consultation room, located on the first floor that was once an integral part of the exhibition itinerary, is the fact that it overlooks the space below, forming a constant dialogue with the exhibition space.
Alongside the library there is the Archivio Merz, the main purpose of which is to gather together, order and conserve any documentation relative to Mario and Marisa Merz.
Both serve a public of specialists, researchers and students.

The Mario Merz Prize is a biennial prize that aims to reveal 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 exhibitions and music events connecting Italy and Switzerland.

The Fondazione Merz does not only work in its historical premises: in addition to projects and collaborations with major international organisations, the Fondazione operates a network to develop projects—not limited to exhibitions—in the Mediterranean and Central Europe: border areas where cultures, people and traditions converge.

This area of ​​work stems from the desire to invest in a broad programme, following a transdisciplinary vocation, embracing the expressions of contemporary creativity, from visual arts to music, and from theatre to literature. The special character of some of the projects reflects a focus on social aspects and community building, the creation of new networks of relationships between artists and territories through the work of the Fondazione, operating here as a facilitator and accelerator of exchanges and creations.

The Fondazione’s building, the former Officine Lancia power station, is a fascinating example of industrial architecture of the 1930s owned by the City of Turin, now granted in concession to the Fondazione Merz and located in Borgo San Paolo, an area of Turin that has undergone extensive urban and cultural redevelopment in recent years. The restructuring and restoration project, supported by both private and public funds (City of Turin and Piedmont Region), sought to recover the original simplicity of the layout which is immediately evident to the eye, but also one that is evocative of its past function, redefining the internal spaces and taking into account the Fondazione’s cultural goals.

The Fondazione is a private institution. Its activities are self-financed with the support of a network of donors, funding from Regione Piemonte and the Compagnia di San Paolo. Some projects are made possible also thanks to the support of Fondazione CRT.

 

 

The Scientific Committee is made up of:
  • Beatrice Merz was born in Switzerland in 1960. Besides several curatorial experiences, in 1986 she founded the publishing company Hopefulmonster, specialized in essay writing and monographic catalogues of contemporary art. From 2005 to 2009 she was the President and the Director of Merz Foundation, exhibition centre in Lancia, the restored former thermal plant, inTurin.The project was designed together with her father and aimed to promote the projects of contemporary artists, apart from hosting the collection of Mario Merz’s works. From 2010 tol 2015 she is the director of Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea. From 2010 to 2015 she is the president of AMACI – Association of Italian Museums of Contemporary Art. She is also the President of the twin Swiss Merz Foundation and of the Mario Merz Prize, the International Prize for Art and Music.

  • Frances Morris has been Head of Collections (International Art) at Tate since 2006. Formerly Head of Displays at Tate Modern, she curated the first major re-hang of the collection at Tate Modern in 2006, as well as overseeing the opening display in 2000, in collaboration with Iwona Blazwick. Frances curated Tate Modern’s recent retrospective of Yayoi Kusama which travelled to the Reina Sofia, Pompidou and Whitney Museum. Past exhibitions and catalogues include the major retrospective of Louise Bourgeois which opened at Tate Modern in October 2007, ‘David Smith’, 2006, ‘Henri Rousseau: Jungle in Paris’, 2005 (co-curated with Professor Christopher Green), ‘Zero to Infinity: Arte Povera 1962-72’(co-curated with Richard Flood), 2001, ‘Rites of Passage’, 1995 (co-curated with Stuart Morgan) and ‘Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism’, 1993. She is currently working on a retrospective exhibition of Agnes Martin. In 1997 she was appointed Art Programme Curator for Tate Modern and contributed to the two year programme of pre-opening projects in and around Bankside. In 1987 she was appointed as Curator to the Modern Collection, Tate Gallery, specialising in post-war European and contemporary international art. She has also curated projects with many contemporary artists from Britain and abroad, including Miroslaw Balka, Chris Burden, Genevieve Cadieux, Sophie Calle, Mark Dion, Luciano Fabro and Paul McCarthy.

  • Director of Tate Modern since 2003, conceive and execute the public programme atTate Modern, while representing the gallery externally and internally. Vicente Todolí studied art at Yale before getting his degree at Valencia. From 2003 to 2010 had been the director of the Tate Modern in London. From 1996 to 2002 he was the director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Fundação De Serralves in Porto, Portugal. From 1989 to 1996 he was artistic director of IVAM – The Valencia Institute for Modern Art, Spain. From 1986 to 1988 he was chief curator of IVAM – before the opening of the Museum in 1989. He was an adviser for Future, Past, Present (curated by Germano Celant) at the 1997 Venice Biennale and co-commissioned the Portuguese pavilion for the 2003 Venice Biennale.

     

  • Richard Flood is Director of Special Projects & Curator at the New Museum in New York. Chief curator at the New Museum since 2005, prior to his 2005 appointment, Flood was Chief Curator of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, where he organized a wide range of exhibitions, including Brilliant!: New Art from London; Zero to Infinity: Arte Povera 1962- 1972 and solo exhibitions on the work of Robert Gober, Sigmar Polke, and Matthew Barney. Flood was previously curator of P.S.1, director of the Barbara Gladstone Gallery, and managing editor of Artforum magazine. Flood organized Jeffrey Inaba’s Donor Hall for the New Museum.

  • Qualified as an architect, for some years he was responsible for the set-up activity at the exhibitions office of the Department of Culture in the city of Turin, under the direction of architect Carlo Viano; he thus participated in the worksite for the 1984 “coerenza in coerenza” exhibition dedicated to the artists of the Arte Povera movement, conceived and curated by Germano Celant at the Mole Antonelliana.
    This experience marks the beginning of the collaboration with Mario Merz, whom he worked with as an assistant on the occasion of exhibitions at leading galleries and museums in Europe and the Americas (Zurich, Kunsthaus, 1985; New York, Guggenheim Museum, 1989; Amsterdam, Stedeljik, 1994; Porto Serralves Foundation, 1999; Nimes Carrè d’Art, 2000; Buenos Aires, Proa, 2002; São Paulo, Pinacoteca do Estado, 2003).
    Over the years this commitment also extended to the exhibition activity of Marisa Merz (Paris, Centre Pompidou, 1994; Venice, Fodnazione Querini Stampalia, 2011; Turin, Fondazione Merz, 2011; Rome, Macro, 2016; New York, Metropolitan Museum, 2017; Los Angeles, Hammer Museum, 2017; Oporto, Museu Serralves, 2018; Salzburg, Museum der Moderne, 2018; Lugano, Masi, 2019).
    During the 1990s he held the position of technical manager of the Rivetti Art Foundation in Turin, and began working with the Castello di Rivoli, GAM di Torino and with some private galleries for the preparation of exhibitions. In the same period, he worked with other artists, such as Carla Accardi, Gilberto Zorio and Luigi Mainolfi; from 1992 he began working as assistant to Giulio Paolini.
    The long tradition of working with Mario and Marisa forms the basis for the activity that he continues now in the absence of the artists as regards the material and immaterial aspects of their artistic legacy. (Turin, Fondazione Merz, 2005; Milan, Hangar Bicocca, 2018; Madrid, Palacio Velasquez, 2019).
    At the Fondazione Merz, upon conclusion of the artistic consultancy for the renovation project, he took responsibility for the collection and layouts.

Team

board of directors
Beatrice Merz, president
Willy Merz, Matteo Riscossa, board members

auditor
Sergio Gibelli

scientific committee
Beatrice Merz, Frances Morris, Vicente Todolí, Richard Flood, Mariano Boggia

Merz’s collection and installation manager
Mariano Boggia

Mario and Marisa Merz’s research and archive
Luisa Borio

head of curatorial board
Beatrice Merz

cultural advisors
Maria Centonze, Willy Merz

head of exhibitions and project manager
Chiara Caroppo

special projects manager
Silvano Bertalot

head of events
Luana Carechino

press office and social media manager
Nadia Biscaldi

press consultancy
PCM Studio, Milano – Sutton

education department
Mario Petriccione, head
Michela Depetris, Tecla Latella, Enrico Veglio

editorial department
hopefulmonster editore, Cristina Cioppa

corporate identity
maan project

multimedia director
Roberto Cuzzillo

library
Nadia Zito

administration
Liliana Favata

insurance consultancy
Kuhn & Bülow Insurance Broker, Berlin