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.
Presided over by Beatrice Merz, the Fondazione makes use of the collaboration of a scientific committee comprising, Vicente Todolí (artistic advisor at Hangar Bicocca, Milano), 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.
The foundation 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 space of the Fondazione and its collections. It also cultivates research, exploring the new generations of artists with regular temporary shows.
It organizes art events, such as the Meteorite in Giardino Festival: an annual summer program of visual arts and contemporary music bringing together different disciplines related to contemporary culture.
The 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 mediation service to the visiting public.
The Library is specialized 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. Both engage specialized audiences of art scholars and students.
The Mario Merz Prize is a biennial prize that aims to recognize 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 Fondazione’s building, a former heating plant for the Lancia factory, a fascinating example of industrial architecture from the 1930s owned by the Città di Torino and given in concession to the Fondazione Merz. It is located in Borgo San Paolo, an area now undergoing the urban and cultural revitalisation and refurbishment affecting much of Turin in recent years.
The refurbishment and restoration, supported by both private and public funds (City of Torino and Region Piemonte), has affected the whole building, defining the interior spaces and taking into account the cultural purposes the Fondazione intends pursuing. The building has an overall area of 3,200 mq, of which 1,400 for an exhibition area over three floors and including an external area.