Established by Emilio Vedova himself (together with his wife Annabianca) the foundation has in goal, the promotion of both the art and the work of this important artist in relation to the art scene of his time by the means of a series of cultural initiatives ranging from exhibitions to study conventions. The Foundation faithfully follows the will left by the great Venetian artist, who had a particular attention for divulging, as he was convinced that preserving a work of art cannot be divided from deepening the knowledge of it. The Vedova Foundation has got two locations: Salt Warehouse 266, which was built on a project by Renzo Piano, and Vedova’s former studio. The two places are a must-see for both contemporary art enthusiasts and curious visitors, who are particularly attracted by off-the-map places not visited by mass tourism.
The two locations of the Vedova Foundation in Venice stand a few metres apart in an area of Venice that is as much fascinating as it is tittle known to tourists. Vedova deeply loved these places shielded away from the magnificence of the city as well as from the common tourists’ routes. Places where every-day life flows without fanfare, where the Serenissima reveals its most simple aspects as well as its melancholy and certainly does not look less suggestive for this. The first section of the Foundation is guested in a building — I Magazzini del Sale (the salt warehouse) — that shows clear signs of this side of Venice, which is made of dockworkers and boats as well as docks and maritime trade. The original space of the warehouse has been preserved and no refurbishing intervention has been carried out on the original brick walls nor on the trusses that support the ceiling. On the other hand, a deck of planks of brushed larch wood was set on the stone floor. The planks are slightly tilted in order to enhance the perspective perception of the space. The project for the refurbishing of the warehouse (Magazzini) was entrusted to architect Renzo Piano, a close friend of the artist. The works were made after the death of Vedova but the project had been widely shared with him.
The absolutely exceptional feature which makes Magazzini del Sale (the salt warehouse) unique is the mechanism Piano has designed especially for it. In fact ten robotic shuttles move along a track attached to the ceiling of the hall thanks to a sophisticated as well as unique mechanism. The whole structure is controlled electronically. The shuttles extend movable arms that pick up works of art from the archive located at the bottom of the room and place them on display along the exhibition itinerary. In this way the space becomes changeable and subject to continuous variations. In addition the exposition is deprived of its traditional rigidity, gains dynamism and becomes constantly changeable as well as allows visitors to enjoy works of art that are always different, as they are picked up from the archive from time to time and they are returned there in order to make room for other ones. Emilio Vedova and Renzo Piano had previously collaborated on the Prometheus of Luigi Nono: an extraordinary as well as visionary project that saw the involvement of Massimo Cacciari and Claudio Abbado, besides the painter and the architect. Perhaps the idea of a dynamic exhibition space was born on that occasion. The machinery designed by Piano is not working all the time. In fact it is switched off on the occasion of temporary exhibitions dedicated to other artists. Even if you anyway perceive the mechanisms on these occasions, you can still fully enjoy its positive innovative idea.