ano: L’Attesa’ at Museo Novecento, Florence. Courtesy of Leonardo Morfini, OKNO studio.

Located in the heart of Florence, Museo Novecento occupies a former nunnery, a past traceable in the modern art museum’s architectural accents – saintly frescos adorn doorways and the soaring ceilings enhance the divine. It was these historic motifs that prompted artist Davide Balliano to select 20th century sculptor Arturo Martini’s stone female nude, Susanna (c 1935), from the museum’s collection, to anchor his exhibition, ‘L’Attesa’.

Museo Novecento artistic director Sergio Risaliti invited Brooklyn-based Balliano to exhibit his work in conversation with an art object from the permanent collection for the fifth iteration of ‘Duel’, which has previously seen collaborations with contemporary artists including Ulla von Brandenburg and Jose Dávila. ‘I thought a strong female presence at the core of the show would create a powerful bridge between the history of the space and the controversial time we live in,’ Balliano explains.