The Isola di San Giacomo, a small, remote island off the coast of Venice, will be converted into an arts space by collector Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. It will be the third space overseen by her, after ones in Turin and the Italian town of Guarene.
Last week, Re Rebaudengo revealed plans to turn the space into what her foundation labeled a “laboratory for ecological reflection.” She kicked off the initiative with a Jota Mombaça performance staged on San Giacomo that had been organized by curator Hans Ulrich Obrist.
The island is currently home to three powder magazines built in 1810 by Napoleon, whose forces had destroyed an ancient monastery on the island to make way for them. Those powder magazines are now being converted by Re Rebaudengo into spaces where art exhibitions and events can be held. As part of the construction process, the island will also be restored, and new trees will be planted around buildings that have gone unused for five decades.
The Fondazione Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo said it expects to complete construction on the new space in 2024.
“I like to think that, through the centuries, the different lives and functions of this small island have been preserved in the soil and can now comeback to the surface as a source of inspiration,” Re Rebaudengo said in a statement. “I would like San Giacomo to become a point of crossroads, of encounters and exchanges, becoming once again, as in the distant past, a route between the waters and canals of the lagoon north of Venice, which in turn is connected with the world.
“Our ‘isolation’ in this short strip of land is a transitive action, a choice open to the mobility of water, to journeys, departures and landings,” she continued.
In addition to 1,000 pieces of jewelry and 3,000 photographs, Re Rebaudengo owns more than 1,500 contemporary pieces. She has ranked on the annual ARTnews Top 200 Collectors list each year since 2003.
Her organization, which she founded in 1995, has become known for mounting ambitious contemporary art showcases. She had at one point been planning to open a venue in Madrid, but in 2020, she canceled, citing “structural problems” involved with the space in which it was to be set.