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Berggruen Arts & Culture

Facciata di Palazzo Diedo dopo il restauro

© Massimo Pistore

Established by Berggruen Arts & Culture, a charitable foundation set up by collector and philanthropist Nicolas Berggruen, 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.

© Casa dei Tre Oci

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. 

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Palazzo Diedo

  • Palazzo Diedo ©Matteo Catania Hubove Studio_38
  • Palazzo Diedo ©Matteo Catania Hubove Studio_38
  • Palazzo Diedo ©Matteo Catania Hubove
  • Palazzo Diedo ©Matteo Catania Hubove Studio_38

After over two years of restoration, the Palace reopens its doors, returning the monumental spaces decorated with 18th and 19th-century frescoes and stucco work to their original splendour following years of neglect.

Built in the second half of the 18th century to a design by architect Andrea Tirali for the residence of the prominent Diedo family, the palace is a five-floor structure overlooking the Rio della Maddalena. With a total area of approximately 4,000 square metres, it comprises two piani nobili and a mezzanine, as well as a spacious attic that will be dedicated to the artists’ residences.

With a remarkable number of windows taking in the warm light of the lagoon from all sides, the Palace boasts striking decorative elements. Starting on the ground floor, which soars to a height of some 8 metres, the two portals that once formed an original Latin cross composition, surmounted by a banded entablature and a small central tympanum with plaster figures. The mezzanine floor preserves decorations with monochrome stuccos and pastel hues. The cornices show floral motifs and medallions with portraits. The decorative scheme of the ceilings in the first upperstory side rooms is truly exquisite. On the west side, there is a pictorial cycle created by Francesco Fontebasso in 1765 featuring allegorical-mythological themes. On the east side is a slightly later cycle attributed to Constantino Cedini, probably executed in celebration of the marriage in 1795 of Antonio Diedo, the future perpetual secretary of the new Academy of Fine Arts, and Lucrezia Adriana Nani. Finally, the second piano nobile – intended for
future use as artists’ workshops– features six large monochrome frescoes depicting Roman capricci in the central hall alone.

Following the bankruptcy of the Diedo family, the Palace was purchased in 1889 by the Municipality of Venice to serve as an elementary school, the memory of which still resonates with many Venetians today. It was later made the seat of the Serveillance Court.

After a decade of neglect, today Palazzo Diedo aspires to become an active contributor to the rich urban fabric by hosting permanent installations specifically created for its spaces, as well as performances, symposia, and film screenings. Starting in 2026 it will host an artist residency program aimed at promoting artistic creativity in Venice. This program will involve direct collaboration with skilled craftspeople specialized in various techniques of the local tradition, including glassmaking, shipbuilding, textiles, ceramics and porcelain, and iron forging.

Site specific artworks

On the occasion of the 60th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia 2024, Janus opens at Palazzo Diedo, featuring 11 original site-specific interventions by 11 internationally renowned artists: Urs Fischer, Piero Golia, Carsten Höller, Ibrahim Mahama, Mariko Mori, Sterling Ruby, Jim Shaw, Hiroshi Sugimoto, AYA TAKANO, Lee Ufan and Liu Wei.
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.


Mario Codognato, Director, Berggruen Arts & Culture

Mario Codognato was, since its foundation in 2005, the chief curator of MADRE, the new museum of contemporary art in Naples, where he has curated, among others, the retrospectives of the work of Jannis Kounellis (2006), Rachel Whiteread (2007), Thomas Struth (2008) and Franz West (2010).

He has previously worked at the contemporary art project at the Archeological Museum in Naples, where he curated the exhibitions of Francesco Clemente (2002), Jeff Koons (2003), Anish Kapoor (2003), Richard Serra (2004), Anselm Kiefer (2004) and the first ever museum retrospective of Damien Hirst (2004).

Since 1999, he has curated site-specific public projects for Piazza Plebiscito in Naples including Robert Rauschenberg (1999), Joseph Kosuth (2001), Sol Lewitt (2005), Jenny Holzer (2006), Jan Fabre (2008) and Carsten Nicolai (2009). He has curated exhibitions for other institutions and written their catalogue essays on the work of Alighiero Boetti (1992 and 1999), Richard Long (1994 and 1997), Gilbert & George (1998), Jan Fabre (1999), Brice Marden (2001), Wolfgang Laib (2005) Candida Hoeffer (2013), Douglas Gordon (2017) and Ed Ruscha (2019). He has curated several thematic exhibitions, including Barock at MADRE in 2009 and Fragile? at the Cini Foundation in Venice in 2013.

From 2014 to 2016 he was chief curator at the 21er Haus of the Belvedere in Vienna, where he has curated among others, the retrospective exhibitions of Olafur Eliasson, Tomas Saraceno and Sterling Ruby, and the exhibition “Sleepless” on the history and role of the bed in art. Latest projects include Anish Kapoor at Macro in Rome (2017), Damien Hirst at Houghton Hall in Norfolk (2018) and Galleria Borghese in Rome (2021) and Georg Baselitz at the Museum Palazzo Grimani in Venice (2021).

Since 2016 he is the director of the Anish Kapoor Foundation and since 2022 of the Berggruen Arts & Culture Foundation. He will co-curate in 2024 with Gary Garrels the Willem de Kooning survey exhibition at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice during the next Art Biennale.

Adriana Rispoli, Curator, Berggruen Arts & Culture

Adriana Rispoli is an art historian and curator whose interests are mainly focused on art in public space, site-specific art projects and environmental issues.

She has been a curator at Madre Museum in Naples and collaborated in curating exhibitions and interdisciplinary projects with numerous Italian and international institutions including the Venice Biennale, Copodimonte Museum, Fondazione Morra, Museo Pignatellli in Naples, Paestum Archaeological Park, Certosa di San Giacomo Capri, Palazzo Incontro Rome, Palazzo Ducale Massa Carrara, Ovartaci Museum, Aahrus Denmark, Belgrade Cultural Center, Serbia, MSU Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, Croatia, Zoma Museum Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, PiSt Istanbul, Town House Cairo, CCA Tel Aviv, State Museum Thessaloniki.

She has edited numerous publications and essays in catalogues, currently in her third year of a PhD program at the University of Salerno and working as a curator at Palazzo Diedo, Berggruen Arts & Culture, Venice.

Silvio Fassi, Architect, Berggruen Arts & Culture

Silvio Fassi graduated in architecture from the IUAV in Venice in 1993 and trained at Vittorio Gregotti's studio, first in Lisbon, participating in Expo98 and various renovation and new construction projects, and then in Milan, participating with Pierluigi Cerri in numerous interior architectures and fit-out projects.

In the Venice lagoon area, he has directed numerous renovation, renovation, and urban regeneration projects, including: the Enel colonia marina at Alberoni, Coin house at Santa Sofia on the Grand Canal, Vega Science and Technology Park in Porto Marghera (Vega 2 and Vega 3), renovation of the Rossini cinema.

The most significant ongoing projects are the urban regeneration of a large area in Porto Marghera (Officine Galileo, Ferriera Preo and Molo di Venezia), ca' Diedo da le Oche in Venice, ca' Diedo in santa Fosca and casa 3 Oci in Giudecca.

Pietro Lunetta, Producer, Berggruen Arts & Culture

Born in Venice in 1972, though destined for other business, he became a designer after discovering his creative talent when seeing the success of his creations originally invented for fun. His natural skills as a designer allowed him to see, for example, one of his lamps be made immediately and put to production by Nemo Italiana Luce in 1996. Pietro trained and collaborated with Aldo Cibic’s studio in 1999, whilst simultaneously carrying out design projects for other companies and design exhibitions, such as Leucos, Andromeda, EaTable Glass, Oltrelaguna, Fusion, Murano Museum of Glass, Aperto Vetro 1998. His approach to design is sophisticated, with the correct dose of liveliness, yet encapsulated in a simple, functional and practical style. His predilection to rethink ordinary objects, or classical forms within a new context, creating surprising experiences and enhancing perception to extend their use whilst maintaining a remarkable level of quality is not the result of an ideology or process of recovery, but rather a way to deceive expectations.

In 2005 Pietro co-founded Façon de Venise, designing the first collection of rubber outdoor chandeliers. In 2009 he began a collaboration with Fortuny, the famous printed fabric factory, later taking over as its Art Director until 2017.

In 2018 he began the project Homer. He serves in multidisciplinary roles, from product design to art direction. He has also been Producer for Palazzo Diedo Berggruen Arts & Culture since 2023.

Palazzo Diedo
Arts & Culture

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Fondamenta Diedo
Cannaregio 2386
30121 Venezia

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