Artist Asad Raza has installed “Untitled (Plot for Dialogue)” within the interior space of a late 16th century deconsecrated church. The bright orange tennis court lets churchgoers play matches beneath holy relics, at Milan’s Chiesa San Paolo Converso.
The piece is free for the public to visit, and comes with everything you would expect from a normal court, including racquets, nets, and even jugs of jasmine iced tea and coaches. Raza’s aim is to fill the space with a new social practice not of receiving messages from on high, but engaging in a two-way exchange and play of equals.
“For Raza, the game serves as a method of absorbing energetic drives into symbolic but non-harmful practices,” reads a description of the piece. “Visitors to Untitled (Plot for Dialogue) become more than spectators—practicing with the coaches, the inhabit their bodies in coordinated action.”
The Baroque church building features 16th-century frescoes on its walls and a ceiling painted by the Campi brothers. Napoleon used the building as a warehouse. And for many years, it was a concert venue. The deconsecrated Milan church was converted in 2014 by CLS architects, who repurposed the space as a studio, inserting a free-standing black iron box as an office and turning the crypt into a “table of ideas”.
This installation was created for Converso, an exhibition space dedicated to contemporary art. Apart from playing tennis, you can also admire the historical, architectural and symbolic features of this unique and beautiful place.
Untitled (Plot for Dialogue) runs until 16th December at Piazza S Eufemia, 20122 Milan
All images by Andrea Rosetti