An exhibition setup by Fosbury Architecture, inside an Italian Renaissance church

The temporary project for DucatoPrize 2023 has combined plastic membranes and reusable materials to turn an iconic location in Piacenza toward a more intimate exploration of the works on display.

The Volumnia space in Piacenza, Italy, is an exhibition venue active since 2018 by the will of gallerist Enrica De Micheli. Over time, the former Renaissance church of Sant'Agostino had been used as a military presidium, first a hospital, then a warehouse and barrack, until the 1980s when, for safety reasons, it had been closed to the public. Today, it is one of the most iconic buildings in Piacenza, a unicum in the Emilian city with its five aisles, which from 23 September to 22 October have showcased the ten finalists of 2023 DucatoPrize. 

Fosbury Architecture, curator of the Italian Pavilion at the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale, has precisely exploited such condition of uniqueness to transform the longitudinal development of the naves into a sequence of exhibition rooms. The idea of unrolling the packaging film between the monumental columns has proved as simple as functional in order to let the artworks be protagonists within such an extraordinary space. The other project element has been the use of autoclaved aerated concrete blocks to create the exhibition supports: solid volumes such as walls, platforms, and pedestals. At the end of the event, all the blocks provided on loan for use are returned and reinserted into the production cycle.

Fosbury Architecture, Installation view Ducato Prize 2023. Photo Flavio Pescatori.

The display has organized the exhibition according to the two categories of the award. The five artworks in the Contemporary section and the same number in the Academy section have been placed axially in relation to the central nave. A fertile dialogue has arisen between the monumentality of the building, the iridescent surfaces of the packaging membranes, the wrinkled materiality of the blocks, and the works on display, thus witnessing to the possibility of achieving a lot with little resources.

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