Beatrice Merz, President of The Merz Foundation. Photography © Andrea Guermani

1.What is your museum about and what are its challenges?

The Merz Foundation deals with contemporary art, it was born with the idea of building a house for art. A home for artists. A place of research, study, design and sharing, and the space where the Foundation is hosted is a former thermal power plant.

Not being a space born for art, the artists invited to exhibit challenge themselves and this is also our challenge. From the courage of the artists to get involved, very particular exhibition projects are born. The Foundation wants to play its own role today, that of an energy power station of art, leaving its borders, expanding into human, cultural and geographical territories, from a simple exhibition or conservation place, it has turned into a complex creative platform.

2.What kind of remarkable digital innovation would you like to share with us? It can be online and/or in your physical space.

Innovation must not be limited to an online space, it is more a dynamic project. It is a means of experimentation and the constitutive elements of the contemporary museum are connected to its logic of openness, both outwardly and in receptive and participatory terms.

For this reason it is necessary to ask oneself and in crisis situations it is insufficient to move in terms of a cultural proposal only. We must act through a real political act. Ours is a social role. Therefore, we are reflecting on the nature of the place of culture starting not only from the possible users but from the role played by the artists themselves and their works, protagonists of the cultural space and of the civil construction project given by an institution.

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#FondazioneMerzRewind Mario Merz. Sitin 07.06.2018 | 16.09.2018 Nel cinquantenario dei movimenti di contestazione del ’68, la mostra fornisce – attraverso una decina di opere realizzate da Merz tra il 1966 e il 1973 – uno spunto di riflessione intorno ad un periodo ricco di fermenti creativi, che ha innescato nuovi processi di trasformazione e che ha rinnovato la visione del futuro. Questo cambiamento coinvolge tutte le arti, dalla letteratura alla musica, al teatro, al cinema e naturalmente l’arte visiva, che ha visto coesistere movimenti così significativi come il minimalismo, l’arte povera, la land art e il concettuale, mettendo a confronto e di pari passo l’arte emergente statunitense con quella europea. Ha generato un clima ricco di straordinaria sensibilità, un nuovo modello esistenziale basato sull’impegno costante nella concezione, nella presentazione e nella diffusione dell’arte del proprio tempo. On the 50th anniversary of the European protest movements of 1968, this exhibition explores a period full of creative ferment, which triggered new processes of transformation and renewed vision of the future, through a dozen historically significant works created by Merz between 1966 and 1973. This change involved all aspects of culture, from literature to music, theatre, cinema, and the visual arts, which saw significant artistic movements coexist such as minimalism, arte povera, land and conceptual art, simultaneously contrasting the then emerging American art with the European scene. It has generated a climate rich in extraordinary sensitivity, a new existential model based on a constant commitment to the concept, presentation and distribution of the art of one’s own time. @renatoghiazzaphoto #laculturanonsiferma #museichiusimuseiaperti #iorestoacasa #15years #FMstoria #birthday #29april #15anni #15years #iorestoacasa #museichiusimuseiaperti #mariomerz #marisamerz #beatricemerz

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3.What are the social media platforms that your museum chose for its digital presence and who are your primary target audiences?

They are the traditional platforms from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. We are also completely redesigning the website, so that it becomes not only an information point, but also a platform to eventually host interactive experimentation projects. The recipients are lovers of contemporary art or better of cultural contemporaneity, or better yet the curious.

4.If you had to keep one social media platform to reach youngsters, which one would you pick?

Maybe Instagram.

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#FondazioneMerzRewind Alfredo Jaar. Abbiamo amato tanto la rivoluzione 05.11.2013 | 09.03.2014 Alfredo Jaar ha ideato un progetto giocato sul concetto di riflesso e di riflessione che, nel solco del suo interesse per la relazione tra cultura e vita democratica, interroga il senso della memoria e dell'impegno politico degli anni Sessanta e Settanta, non per commemorare, ma per tornare a promuovere la cultura come fattore di cambiamento. La mostra, composta da circa 60 opere, ha inizio con una grande installazione costituita da milioni di pezzi di vetro e specchio che coprono quasi interamente il pavimento della Fondazione. Lo spettatore, camminando su una distesa riflettente di macerie che è anche spazio della memoria, è invitato a ripensare ai momenti difficili della storia collettiva, e allo stesso tempo si ritrova a compiere un esercizio di conoscenza di se stesso. Ciò che rimane degli insegnamenti della storia, diventa la base per una rinascita e nuova spinta culturale. A cura di Claudia Gioia. Alfredo Jaar’s project plays on the idea of reflection (as both reproduction of images and thought or consideration) along the trajectory of his interest in the rapport between culture and democratic life, as he questions the sense of memory and political participation in the Sixties and Seventies. And he does so not as an act of commemoration, but rather to constantly engage in promoting culture as a decisive factor for change. Consisting of about 60 artworks, the exhibition starts with a major installation that consist of millions of pieces of broken glass and mirror that cover most of the main exhibition space. As viewers walk on this reflecting surface of debris, they also move along the space of memory, and while engaged in self-reflection, they are invited to think over some difficult moments of our collective history. The remains of the lessons of history become the ground for hope and cultural rebirth. Curated by ClaudiaGioia #alfredojaar #abbiamoamatotantolarivoluzione #cultura #laculturacisalverà #laculturanonsiferma #museichiusimuseiaperti #iorestoacasa #15years #FMstoria #birthday #29april #15anni #15years #iorestoacasa #mariomerz #marisamerz

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5.Tell us how are you facing the coronavirus emergency with the museum? What strategies are you using.

The lockdown took us in the midst of an installation of the next exhibition designed for the Foundation’s birthday. Push the Limits, is an all-female project to investigate the ability of art to constantly put itself to the limit by moving the axis of thought, perception, speech, introducing new elements into the system.

Without effort, finalisms and superstructures that are not those of contemporary art thought and creativity are told, a path to find a conscious language capable of telling the present. It’s time to ask questions, art cannot instill certainties but can help change the rhythm of the wheel.

Waiting to be able to resume the exhibition and see the works live, we will ask these artists directly in a new cycle of posts on social media that follows the online project currently underway, #FondazioneMerzRewind, a story of 15 years of exhibition activity through images and videos.

Another project is the transposition on a digital format of an already experienced event “Scusi, non capisco” (Excuse me, I don’t understand), these are direct Instagram, 8 appointments / dialogues for two between people who, admitting not to understand what they see in a museum of contemporary art, can contribute to legitimize us in the story, starting precisely from that “scusi, non capisco” that for some years has been tormenting our reflection on what art and culture mean and what it means even in times of profound dramatic and suspended crisis.

Interview by Fabio Pariante, journalist

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Beatrice Merz is the President of The Merz Foundation inaugurated in Turin in 2005 as a contemporary art center. In addition to events, reviews and workshops dedicated especially to young people, the Foundation alternates exhibitions dedicated to Mario and Marisa Merz with site specific projects by national and international artists invited to confront the space that is a former Officine Lancia thermal power station of the 1930s.

The Foundation and the Archive have a scientific committee, in addition to Beatrice Merz, composed of Frances Morris (Director of the Tate Modern, London), Vicente Todolí (Artistic Advisor Hangar Bicocca, Milan), Richard Flood (Director of the special project and curator of the new large museum of contemporary art in New York) and Mariano Boggia (director of the Merz collection).

The Foundation collaborates with various cultural realities, and every two years the Mario Merz Prize has the prerogative of envying personalities in the field of contemporary art and musical composition in collaboration with Switzerland.