Venice’s New Beacon of Contemporary Art: Palazzo Diedo

In Venice, the Palazzo Diedo emerges as the latest epicentre for contemporary art.

This grandiose space marks the city’s most significant addition to its art scene in over a decade, heralding a new era of artistic expression with the launch set for 20 April 2024.

This pivotal moment is celebrated with the debut of site-specific works by eleven internationally celebrated artists, including Urs Fischer, Piero Golia, Carsten Höller, Ibrahim Mahama, Mariko Mori, Sterling Ruby, Jim Shaw, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Aya Takano, Lee Ufan, and Liu Wei, making Palazzo Diedo a nexus of contemporary creativity.

A Symphony of Restoration and Artistic Dialogue

The rebirth of Palazzo Diedo follows a meticulous restoration, bringing to life its 18th-century splendour designed by architect Andrea Tirali.

This erstwhile domicile of one of Venice’s most influential families, which also served as a primary school and a court, now stands as a testament to the seamless blend of historical integrity and modern creativity.

The artists’ works are a thoughtful homage to Venice’s rich artistic traditions, from frescoes and Murano glass to luxurious fabrics and distinctive Venetian floor designs, all while engaging in a vibrant dialogue with the palazzo’s architectural majesty.

Janus: Bridging the Past with the Present

The inaugural exhibition, aptly named ‘Janus’ after the Roman god of beginnings and transitions, encapsulates the essence of Palazzo Diedo’s mission. Janus, often depicted with two faces looking to the past and the future, symbolises the exhibition’s aim to meld historical reverence with contemporary vision.

Unveiling Venice's New Beacon of Contemporary Art: Palazzo Diedo

This conceptual framework not only enriches the visitor experience but also elevates the dialogue between the old and the new, underscoring Venice’s enduring role as a crucible of cultural innovation.

A highlight of the Janus exhibition is Mariko Mori’s ‘Peace Crystal: A Prayer for Peace,’ set to make its first appearance at Palazzo Diedo before gracing the Giardini of Palazzo Corner della Ca’ Granda.

This installation, the third in a series with the Faou Foundation, includes a film showcasing previous installations in Japan and Brazil, offering viewers a profound insight into Mori’s artistic journey and her vision for peace.

The Kitchen’s Solo Showcase by Rhea Dillon

In conjunction with the exhibition, The Kitchen, a renowned interdisciplinary cultural institution from New York, will present a solo display by Rhea Dillon, a London-based artist whose work poignantly explores the conceptualisation of Blackness within aesthetic and theoretical practices.

This collaboration expands upon The Kitchen’s previous presentation of Dillon’s work, promising a compelling exploration of sculptural expression.

Polaroid Foundation’s Unique Collaboration

The Polaroid Foundation extends an exclusive invitation to the exhibiting artists to engage with the iconic Polaroid 20×24 camera, offering a rare opportunity to create original works with this legendary photographic instrument.

Under the guidance of veteran camera operator John Reuter, artists will craft images that not only embody the spirit of Palazzo Diedo but also resonate with the storied legacy of the Polaroid 20×24.

Unveiling Venice's New Beacon of Contemporary Art: Palazzo Diedo

Adding a cinematic dimension to Palazzo Diedo’s artistic repertoire is a small cinema dedicated to showcasing films by artists representing their countries at the Venice Biennale. Among them is Koo Jeong A, representing South Korea, whose films will be featured every Thursday, further enriching the cultural tapestry of Palazzo Diedo.

Berggruen Arts & Culture: Envisioning a New Chapter

Under the auspices of Berggruen Arts & Culture, the restoration of Palazzo Diedo stands as a beacon of artistic renewal and cross-cultural dialogue. The foundation’s commitment, articulated by collector and philanthropist Nicolas Berggruen, emphasises Venice’s historical role as a hub of creative exchange and innovation.

Unveiling Venice's New Beacon of Contemporary Art: Palazzo Diedo

Palazzo Diedo’s transformation is poised to foster a dynamic intersection of contemporary art, history, and cultural discourse, offering artist residencies, exhibitions, and a platform for artistic and intellectual exploration.

At the helm of this ambitious project are Mario Codognato, Director of Berggruen Arts & Culture, and Adriana Rispoli, Curator, who together envision Palazzo Diedo as a sanctuary for artistic innovation and dialogue.

Their dedication to bridging the historical and the contemporary through a diverse array of exhibitions and creative endeavours underscores Venice’s timeless allure as a city of art and culture.

Elective Affinities: A Global Cultural Dialogue

Complementing the contemporary focus of Palazzo Diedo, the Berggruen Institute’s acquisition of Casa dei Tre Oci further enriches Venice’s cultural landscape.

The forthcoming ‘Elective Affinities’ exhibition, featuring masterworks from the Berggruen Museum Berlin, epitomises the global dialogue between art forms and cultural expressions, reinforcing Venice’s stature as a crucible of artistic innovation and intellectual exchange.

In the unveiling of Palazzo Diedo, Venice reaffirms its centuries-old legacy as a beacon of art, culture, and creativity. This new chapter not only celebrates the city’s historical richness but also signals a forward-looking vision, where contemporary art and tradition converge in a vibrant dialogue.

As Palazzo Diedo opens its doors, it invites us to traverse the boundary between the past and the present, offering a glimpse into the future of artistic expression.

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