XNL is the contraction of consonants for “Ex-Enel”, under whose direction the historic building resided in the years after the disposal from the electricity national corporation and the acquisition by the Fondazione di Piacenza e Vigevano in the early 2000s.
Built in 1907 to host a cartoning plant and a lithography site, it was partially restored in 1919, when the whole compound passed in the hands of the Italian Federation of the agricultural associations, right when it was established in Piacenza. In this occasion the building found the appearance that we see today and that is owed to the project of the engineer and architect Guido Tirelli from Reggio Emilia – author in Emilia of very recognizable Neo Renaissance buildings – and the participation of other well known painters of the time, such as Luciano Ricchetti from Piacenza. His allegories can be admired, after the restoration, on the staircase of the building.
XNL is located in the historic centre of Piacenza, in the proximity of the Teatro Municipale, the Teatro dei Filodrammatici, the Conservatorio G. Nicolini and the Galleria Ricci Oddi. A strategic location which underlines the vocation to integrate the cultural offer of Piacenza with the contemporary element, acting as a connection between the various experiences and the languages with which the arts read the present and hypothesize the future: a study centre where art exhibitions, multilingual events, documental exhibitions and seminars can find a time and a place, a permanent workshop of analysis and discussion on today’s languages, where the art phenomenon can be read as a linguistic, socio-political, economic, aesthetic mechanism with precise and documentable consequences on the understanding of society.
The restoration project has been taken care of by the Politecnico di Milano – Polo territoriale di Mantova in close collaboration with the Soprintendenza ai Beni artistici e architettonici di Parma e Piacenza. It is inspired by a multidisciplinary and multilingual vision of space.