Airborne art

Renzo Piano brings paintings to lifee

Editorial Staff
June 18, 2009

Why hang art when it can fly? To display the works of Venetian abstract artist Emilio Vedova (1919-1996) at Venice's Museo Vedova, internationally renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano has put the works on the move throughout the museum so they can be seen from a variety of angles.Suspended in the air by a fleet of robotic shuttles moving along a track fixed to the ceiling, Vedova's most famous paintings glide through the museum at various heights, periodically stopping at strategic points under spotlights before moving to another position. The public can view the paintings from below or from a mezzanine along one of the museum's walls. The collection, grouped according to chronological or thematic contexts, is constantly changing, with works coming out of or going in to a storage space at the back of the museum. Vedova, one of the most important artists of the post-war avant-garde movement, gained international acclaim in the 1950s following a solo show in New York and a collective show at the 26th Venice Bienniale in 1952. In 1960, he won the Bienniale's Grand Prize for painting. The Museo Vedova, located in the artist's former studio near Venice's salt docks, opened on June 3 on occasion of the 53rd Venice Biennial art exhibition.Explaining how he came up with the idea, Piano said, ‘the warehouses are narrow and long and so it made sense to imagine that down at the far end, a bit hidden in the shadow, would be the storage facility, and out of this, as if by magic, the works would appear in a certain order. From this came the idea of mobility, whereby it's not the spectator who goes to the artwork, but the artwork that comes to the spectator.'

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