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500 Year Old Church Taken Over by Tennis Court

The visually striking show aims to re-purpose the church, typically seen as a place to receive messages from above, into one of two-way exchange and recreation.

AFP Relaxnews

Updated:November 27, 2017, 11:04 AM IST
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500 Year Old Church Taken Over by Tennis Court
'The exhibition Untitled (plot for dialogue)' (Image courtesy: AFP Relaxnews)
American artist Asad Raza is behind the ongoing Milan exhibition "Untitled (plot for dialogue)," which brings a tennis-like game -- complete with special flooring, netting, racquets and coaches -- into a 16th-century church setting. The visually striking show aims to re-purpose the church, typically seen as a place to receive messages from above, into one of two-way exchange and recreation, according to Converso, the art venue hosting the event.

Visitors to the show take to the court, where they practice with coaches -- all young local tennis players, recruited by the artist through a series of auditions -- in a meditative back-and-forth activity. Iced jasmine tea, made daily on site and served in an urn on the church altar, is on hand to quench visitors' thirst. A scent -- called Dialogo -- has also been created specially for the event by the artist's sister, a perfumer; it features notes of lilies and mushrooms and is set to be "floral yet 'untraditional'."

"I thought the scent should be as uncanny as my brother's functioning tennis court in a 16th century Catholic Church is," said the perfumer. Raza, whose work has recently been shown at Shanghai's Rockbund Museum and the Whitney Biennial, is an avid tennis player himself; having written extensively on the game, he sees it as "a method of absorbing energetic drives into symbolic but non-harmful practices," according to Converso.

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