The Fondazione Merz (Foundation), established in 2005, is named after Mario Merz, it is overseen by Beatriz Merz, Mario, and Marisa Merz’s daughter, and makes use of the collaboration of a scientific committee * Marisa Merz was born, and grew up, in Turin where she later met Mario Merz who was studying there. Mario Merz was a successful artist whose work with energy, light, and matter placed him in the Arte Provera movement, which, together, with Futurism, was one of the most influential movements of20th century Italian art. Marisa Merz, herself an artist whose work grew in recognition, was the only female to be accepted into the Arte Povera family.
The Merz Foundation offers a center for Contemporary Art with the intention of hosting exhibitions, events, education-related activities, and furthering research and the exploration of art. It 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 Foundation’s space and its collections. Regular temporary exhibitions explore the new generations of artists.
It also organises art events, such as the Meteorite in Giardino Festival: an annual summer programme of visual arts and contemporary music which brings together different disciplines related to contemporary culture. The Foundation’s 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 a mediation service to the visiting public. The Library specialises 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. The Mario Merz Prize is a biennial award that aims to recognise talents in the fields of contemporary art and music composition. The project creates a new network of exhibitions and music initiatives connecting Italy and Switzerland.
The Foundation’s building, a former heating plant for the Lancia factory, offers a fascinating example of industrial architecture from the 1930s. Owned by the city of Turin, itis located in Borgo San Paolo, an area undergoing urban and cultural revitalisation and refurbishment. The building’s refurbishment and restoration, supported by both private and public funds have impacted the whole space, defining the interior and taking into account the Foundation’s range of events and activities.
* in 2018 the committee included Vicente Todolí (artistic advisor at Hangar Bicocca, Milano (It.), Centro Botín, Santander (Sp), Bombas Gens, Valencia (Sp), Frances Morris (Director at Tate Modern, London), Richard Flood (Director of Special Projects & Curator at Large of the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York) and Mariano Boggia