Originally the home of Venetian merchants Corner di San Cassiano, Ca’ Corner della Regina was built between 1724 and 1728 on the ruins of the Gothic palazzo in which Caterina Corner, the future Queen of Cyprus, was born in 1454. In 1800, the building became the property of Pope Pius VII, who assigned it to the charitable Congregation of the Padri Cavanis. From 1834 to 1969, it hosted the Monte di Pietà (Mount of Piety) of Venice, whereas, in 1975, it became the Historical Archive of the Venice Biennale and has been the Venice permanent space of Fondazione Prada since 2011.

The project by the artist develops in an immersive environment, taking over the palazzo, specifically its ground floor, mezzanine and first floor. It consists of a fictitious bankrupt pawnshop based on the original layout of the Monte di Pietà of Venice. The layered history of the building is Büchel’s framework for constructing an articulated network of spatial, economic, and cultural references. “Monte di Pietà” incorporates new productions and references of installations previously conceived by Christoph Büchel, a heterogeneous selection of objects, documents, historical and contemporary artworks related to property history, credit and finance, the development of collections and archives, and the creation and meaning of real or artificial wealth.

“Monte di Pietà” is a deep dive into the notion of debt as the root of human society and the primary vehicle by which political and cultural power is exercised. Historically, a crossroads of commercial and artistic exchange and intermingling, the city of Venice is an ideal context for exploring the relationships between these complex topics and the deep dynamics of contemporary society. Ca’ Corner della Regina, Venezia until 24 November 2024

Photo © Marco Cappelletti, courtesy Fondazione Prada