The floor of Milan’s Chiesa San Paolo Converso has been transformed into a fully functioning tennis court by artist Asad Raza—and anyone can play. The floor, net, rackets, tennis balls, iced tea, and coaches are all part of an interactive art piece named Untitled (Plot for Dialogue), which encourages visitors to play tennis in the deconsecrated church. Raza’s aim is to fill the space with a new social practice not of receiving messages from on high, but engaging in a two-way exchange and play of equals.
“For Raza, the game serves as a method of absorbing energetic drives into symbolic but non-harmful practices,” reads a description of the piece. “Visitors to Untitled (Plot for Dialogue) become more than spectators—practicing with the coaches, the inhabit their bodies in coordinated action.”
The Baroque church building features 16th-century frescoes on its walls and a ceiling painted by the Campi brothers. Napoleon used the building as a warehouse. And for many years, it was a concert venue. In 2014, CLS architects took over the space, adding a glass-and-metal studio structure in the “rear church” while leaving the “front church” with its elaborate decorations and vaulted ceiling as a public exhibition space.