Italian Health Authorities Are Transforming One of Turin’s Top Art Venues Into a Temporary 100-Bed Hospital

Last summer, the OGR cultural hub hosted the Biennale of Moving Images.

The OGR Torino in Turin, which will be converted into a temporary hospital. Courtesy OGR Torino.

Crisis coordinators in Italy are moving forward with the construction of a temporary field hospital in the Officine Grandi Riparazioni, a popular cultural venue in Turin that last summer hosted the Biennale of Moving Images.

The venue, which is commonly known as OGR and was founded by the CRT Foundation, will hold 100 hospital beds for patients recovering from COVID-19 who are in need of semi-intensive therapy, according to La Reppublica. Respirators and other equipment will be brought in for what is expected to be the next four months to relieve crowded intensive-care units at hospitals across Italy.

The building that houses the OGR was originally constructed as a factory in the 19th century and was acquired by the CRT Foundation in 2013.

“Two years ago, we redeveloped the OGR with the specific objective of looking to the future,” CRT Foundation general manager Massimo Lapucci told Artnet News via email. “Even today, in making [the space] available to the community [as a temporary hospital]—as has happened in the past for historic places such as the Hermitage and the Quirinale on other difficult occasions—we honor the OGR’s original mission with the firm belief that, once the current difficulties are overcome, the OGR will return to repair art, culture and innovation.”

Artists including Liam Gillick, Mike Nelson, and Hannah Black have had exhibitions and performances at the venue. Italian artist Monica Bonvicini’s exhibition “As Walls Keep Shifting,” closed at the space in February.

“The time will come back when creativity and innovation will be indispensable to start again and we will be there again,” Gianaria told the Agenzia Italia.

As of Friday morning, Italy had nearly 14,000 deaths due to the coronavirus. The northern part of the country, which includes Turin, has been especially hard hit.

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