asad raza installs neon orange, interactive tennis court inside 16th century church in milan

asad raza installs neon orange, interactive tennis court inside 16th century church in milan

artist asad raza has installed ‘untitled (plot for dialogue)’ within the interior space of a late 16th century deconsecrated church. in doing so, milan’s la chiesa di san paolo converso has been re-purposed as a contemporary art space. raza’s work explores how objects, humans, and non-human beings inhabit space through social practices. within the church’s main interior space, the artist introduces a tennis installation, framed by the placement of lines, netting, racquets, iced jasmine tea, scent, and individual coaches. raza has re-purposed the church, a place in which many go to communicate with higher authorities, as a space of personal growth and recreation.

asad raza
asad raza installs a tennis court within converso’s church space in milan
all images © andrea rossetti



raza’s love of tennis, which serves as a way to absorb energy, fed into his inspiration for this installation for converso. visitors who choose to interact with the installation, inhabit their bodies in coordinated action. players respond to each other through the medium of sport and through the ball and racquet. the piece places the experience above purely visual appreciation: the back-and-forth of the tennis ball exchange produces its own meditative beauty in a space surrounded by the frescos illustrating scenes from the life of saint paul the apostle, carefully painted by the campi brothers.

asad raza
the deconsecrated church now functions as a viewing space for contemporary artworks and installations

asad raza
the tennis players are surrounded by frescos illustrating the life of paul the apostle

asad raza
the frescos were painted in the late 16th century by giulio and antonio campi

asad raza
the installation includes the artist’s addition of jasmine tea, a curated scent, and tennis coaches

asad raza
the artwork responds the existing interior space and its decoration

asad raza
the installation is free to the public and fully interactive, inviting visitors to take part in the tennis game



project info:


director and curator: alexander may
curator: michele d’aurizio
exhibition coordinator: nadine d’archemont
assistants: giulia ratti, chiara spagnol
tennis coaches: tommaso agrati, edoardo bodini, tommaso corbetta, chiara dell’acqua, jacopo mazzetti, marco zanghì


  • Sorry Elisabetta but your outrage is misplaced. The church was deconsecrated over a hundred years ago, so there is no sacrilege, and netting protected the balls from touching the walls of the church. If you don’t like the idea that is fine, but it is neither disrespectful nor damaging to the space.

    Alessandro Boname
  • This is a disgusting display of my city’s love for the avant garde. I have zero religion and do not care. However, this church was built for religious purposes and to ignore that is gross disrespect. I care about aesthetics: it’s ugly. It serves no athletic purpose for a community nor does it enhance the space artistically. And what about protecting the freschi from the balls that will inevitably hit them? It is a glorious example of a waste of money and of the worst of Milano, the home town I adore.

    Elisabetta di Cagno

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