Palazzo Diedo, Venice’s first major new space dedicated to contemporary art for more than a decade, launches with the unveiling of site-specific commissions by 11 internationally acclaimed artists - Urs Fischer, Piero Golia, Carsten Höller, Ibrahim Mahama, Mariko Mori, Sterling Ruby, Jim Shaw, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Aya Takano, Lee Ufan and Liu Wei - on 20 April 2024.

Following major restoration of the Palazzo, Janus, the inaugural exhibition, and two special projects, presented in partnership with New York City’s The Kitchen and the Polaroid Foundation, respectively, will coincide with the 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia 2024.

The artists’ interventions have been conceived in response to the architecture and original features of the 18th-century building by architect Andrea Tirali, once home to one of Venice’s most powerful families and formerly a primary school and court. The works are often inspired by traditional crafts associated with Venice, such as frescos, Murano glass, precious fabrics and Venetian floor design. And, the exhibition takes its name from Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, often seen with two faces, one looking forward and the other backwards, symbolic of the exhibition’s aims to bring the historical and contemporary together.

Palazzo Diedo, photo by Alessandra Chemollo

Janus at the Palazzo Diedo will be the first opportunity to see Mariko Mori’s Peace Crystal: A Prayer for Peace, before it is unveiled to the public in the Giardini of Palazzo Corner della Ca’ Granda in San Marco one month into the biennale on 18 June. The work is the third in a series with the Faou Foundation and the exhibition at Diedo will include a film of previous installations in Japan and Brazil, and a model and scroll of Peace Crystal to give the viewer deeper insight into the work.

Simultaneously, celebrated New York interdisciplinary cultural institution The Kitchen will present a solo presentation by Rhea Dillon (b.1996). The London-based artist and writer’s work often examines the ways Blackness is conceptualised in an aesthetic and theoretical practice. Previously, The Kitchen presented Dillon’s film (Working Title) Browning 2025; here, they expand their relationship with Dillon in a new constellation of sculptural work.

Urs Fischer, Omen, 2024. Hand-blown mirrored glass. Each droplet approx 6 x 16.5 x 5.5 cm. Photo by Massimo Pistore. Courtesy of Urs Fischer studio

The Polaroid Foundation will invite the exhibiting artists to create an original work using the world’s largest instant camera, the Polaroid 20×24. Andy Warhol, Chuck Close, Jim Dine, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Mary Ellen Mark, Mickalene Thomas, Robert Frank, Robert Mapplethorpe, Robert Rauschenberg and Sally Mann are among the artists who have worked with this iconic, over-sized camera in the past. Veteran camera operator John Reuter. Reuter, who has operated the camera since 1980, will support the artists as they produce images of 20 x 24 inch (50 x 60 cm) for Palazzo Diedo.

AYA TAKANO, happy and joyous days, 2024. Fresco.
Photo by Massimo Pistore. Courtesy of the Artist, Perrotin and Palazzo Diedo _ Berggruen Arts and Culture. ©2024 AYA TAKANO_Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights R

Palazzo Diedo also features a small cinema which will screen a film by artist Koo Jeong A, representing South Korea at this year’s biennale, every Thursday until November.

Over the last two years, Berggruen Arts & Culture has completed a major restoration of Palazzo Diedo, sympathetic to its history while readying it for a new beginning as a space of creativity and inspiration. Two significant fresco cycles and a Roman capricci – a scenine that combines historical and fictional elements – by Francesco Fontebasso (1707-1769) and Costantino Cedini (1741-1811) have been fully restored. In 2022, Sterling Ruby presented the first project at Palazzo Diedo, a facade-based sculpture called HEX, installed before the completion of the restoration.

Hiroshi Sugimoto, Opticks, 2018_2022, C-print.
Photo by Massimo Pistore. Courtesy of the Artist, Lisson Gallery, Sugimoto Studio and Berggruen Arts & Culture _ Palazzo Diedo

Established by Berggruen Arts & Culture, a charitable foundation set up by collector and philanthropist Nicolas Berggruenn, Palazzo Diedo aims to deepen the connection between contemporary art and the past, and between East and West. It will host artist residencies, exhibitions, events, film and performance across five levels and a total area of 4,000 square metres.

Venice has historically been a catalyzer for creativity, ideas, experimentation, and exchanges. With Berggruen Arts & Culture, we aim to revive the making of artefacts, to animate the extraordinary treasure which is Palazzo Diedo.

Together with the Berggruen Institute, which hosts debates and a residency programme at Tre Oci, we see Venice again as a generator of culture and ideas. Janus symbolises our commitment to build on the past in a contemporary way.

Nicolas Berggruen, collector and founder of the Berggruen Institute
Sterling Ruby, WINDOW of Declinism 2, 2024. Fabric, yarn, fishing nets, buoys, hardware. Courtesy of the Artist and Sterling Ruby Studio

Venice is world-renowned for exhibiting contemporary art and for its culture of historic art traditions. Palazzo Diedo will add to that already impressive landscape through its new galleries as well as bringing something new – artists studios. The spaces will enable artists to submerge themselves in the traditions and atmosphere of a city forever located in another era in extended residencies. I am truly excited to see what will emerge.

Mario Codognato, Director, Berggruen Arts & Culture and exhibition curator

Janus is curated by Mario Codognato, Director of Berggruen Arts & Culture and Adriana Rispoli, Curator of Berggruen Arts & Culture.

In 2021, Nicolas Berggruen also acquired Casa dei Tre Oci, Venice, to become the European centre of the Berggruen Institute – a house of ideas and place for global dialogue presenting an international programme of summits, workshops, symposia, and exhibitions. The Institute’s Tre Oci and the Gallerie dell’Accademia will jointly present masterworks from the Berggruen Museum Berlin, in the show Elective Affinities: Picasso, Matisse, Klee and Giacometti across both venues from 24 March to 23 June 2024.

Exhibiting artists

Urs Fischer, born 1973, Zurich, Switzerland Lives and works in New York, US Piero Golia, born 1974 Naples, Italy. Lives and works in Los Angeles, US Carsten Höller, born 1961, Germany. Lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden and Biriwa, Ghana. Ibrahim Mahama, born 1987, Tamale, Ghana. Lives and works in Accra and Tamale, Ghana Mariko Mori, born 1967, Tokyo, Japan. Lives and works in Japan. Sterling Ruby, born 1972, Bitburg, Germany. Lives and works in Los Angeles Jim Shaw, born 1952, Michigan, USA. Lives and works in Los Angeles Hiroshi Sugimoto, born 1948, Tokyo, Japan. Lives and works in New York and Tokyo Aya Takano, born 1976, Saitama, Japan. Lives and works in Tokyo Lee Ufan born 1936, Kyongnam, South Korea. Lives and works in Japan Liu Wei born 1972 in Beijing, China. Lives and works in Beijing, China.

Presented in partnership with The Kitchen
Rhea Dillon, born 1996, London, UK. Lives and works in London, UK.

Jim Shaw, The Alexander Romances, 2024. Acrylic on muslin backdrop, acrylic on wood panels, decorative wood moulding, 784 x 621.50 cm.
Photo by Jeff McClane. Courtesy of Palazzo Diedo.

The Kitchen and Berggruen Arts & Culture

The Kitchen’s recent “without walls” approach to programming – undertaken during the renovation of its home in New York City’s Chelsea neighbourhood – takes new form in this historic collaboration with Berggruen Arts & Culture. The storied New York City organisation’s vision for reconsidering and transcending the bounds of institutional space has brought avant-garde artistry into broadcast, unconventional and evocative locations outside of its traditional home, cross-institutional collaborations, televised web presentations, and now this momentous intercontinental partnership—further continuing its 50-year history of cross-cultural celebration of artistic risks and experimentation.

Lee Ufan, Beyond Venice, Relatum – The Location, 2024, Steel, stone.
Photo by Massimo Pistore.
Courtesy of Studio Lee Ufan, ADAGP and Berggruen Arts & Culture _ Palazzo Diedo

About The Kitchen

Founded in 1971 as an artist-driven collective, The Kitchen today reaffirms and expands upon its originating vision as a dynamic cultural institution that centres artists, prioritises people, and puts process first. With a kunsthalle model that brings together live performances, exhibition-making, and public programming under one roof, The Kitchen empowers its audiences and communities to think creatively and radically about what it means to shape a multivalent and sustainable future in art. The Kitchen seeks to cultivate and hold space for wild thought, risky play, and innovative and experimental making, encouraging artists and cultural workers alike to defy boundaries and sending them into the world to remake art history and catalyse creative change.

Among the artists who have presented significant work at The Kitchen are Muhal Richard Abrams, Laurie Anderson, ANOHNI, Robert Ashley, Charles Atlas, Kevin Beasley, Beastie Boys, Gretchen Bender, Dara Birnbaum, Anthony Braxton, John Cage, Lucinda Childs, Julius Eastman, Simone Forti, Philip Glass, Barbara Hammer, Leslie Hewitt, Darius James, Joan Jonas, Bill T. Jones, Sara Jordenö, Devin Kenny, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Simone Leigh, Ralph Lemon, George Lewis, Robert Longo, Robert Mapplethorpe, Sarah Michelson, Tere O’Connor, Okwui Okpokwasili, Nam June Paik, Charlemagne Palestine, Sondra Perry, Vernon Reid, Arthur Russell, Cindy Sherman, Sable Elyse Smith, Laurie Spiegel, Talking Heads, Greg Tate, Cecil Taylor, Urban Bush Women, Danh Vō, Lawrence Weiner, Anicka Yi, and many more.

Mariko Mori, Peace Crystal Model, 2016-2024. Crystal glass. Photo by Massimo Pistore. Courtesy of the Artist, Faou Foundation and Palazzo Diedo _ Berggruen Arts & Culture.

About Faou Foundation

Coined by artist Mariko Mori, the word “faou” means “creative force.” Faou Foundation increases awareness of our planet’s natural treasures and promotes the idea, through permanent public art installations and related community-based educational programming, that humanity and nature are of equal value. Faou is not just an art foundation; it employs art as a means to conserve natural resources and celebrate local cultures.

Urs Fischer, Good Luck Peanuts, 2024. Acrylic, acrylic spray, enamel on fresco sand and lime plaster. Photo by Massimo Pistore.
Courtesy of Gagosian and Berggruen Arts & Culture _ Palazzo Diedo

Faou Foundation has been working steadily to create a series of ambitious installations by Mariko Mori in unique ecological settings around the globe, each placed on one of the six habitable continents. These installations will offer lasting testimonies to the natural beauty of their surroundings.

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