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Now that another edition has come and gone, it is time to take stock of Arte Fiera 2019, the first edition under the guidance of new artistic director Simone Menegoi. The verdict by all accounts was overwhelmingly positive, with over 50,000 visitors attending over the weekend.

The 43rd edition seemed to live up to everyone's expectations with 141 participant galleries, six prizes, numerous initiatives dedicated to the collectors, and most of all, a repurposed dialogue with the city of Bologna. But what are the gallerists’ opinions? We met five of them to analyse together some important choices of their personal journeys and opinions about the role of the fair. 
These three questions were directed to Galleria Continua, Mazzoleni Art, Piero Atchugarry Gallery, NContemporary and Federica Schiavo Gallery.

 

I  MeetMe --> GALLERIA CONTINUA

When the gallery was founded, with the specific choice of being decentralized in a place in the Center Italy, did you imagine to reach this success, working with such important artists for the contemporary scenario?

When we opened the first gallery in 1990 in San Gimignano, we didn’t know where we could have arrived but we had only one thing clear in mind: we wanted to “continue” the development of an artistic sensitivity of the Renaissance. Such an heavy legacy that nothing else arose later. This dawned on us the desire to leave a tangible sign of the contemporary sensitivity for the future. Indeed, the gallery name “Continua” wants to provide a sense of continuity between the great Art of the past and the Art of our time. It wasn’t easy at the beginning; nobody probably thought we would do it but after few years, fortunately, some extraordinary artists - such as Michelangelo Pistoletto, Anish Kapoor, Daniel Buren, Chen Zhen - trusted us. Working with them allowed us to grow and to meet other extraordinary artists, giving shape and substance to our youthful dreams.

What recommendations would you now give to an emergent gallery?

Follow the intuition, work with passion and with a pinch of madness, let the gallery being a place for reflection and meeting, work with artists you totally believe in, sustain their projects by leading them towards a global recognition within a real cultural context. This is our experience but the way is never one.

According to you, in which direction is the Italian market going today?

We look at the Italian market with optimism and confidence. There’s a new growing interest for young artists and a steady attention for the already established ones.

 

Continua Gallery, stand view during the 43rd Edition of Arte Fiera, Bologna 2019. 

 

II MeetMee --> MAZZOLENI ART

When the gallery was founded - that can now be considered as “historical” in Italy, not only for your represented artists but mostly for the path you developed over the years, did you imagine to reach this success, working with such important artists for the modern art scenario?

The gallery was born in Turin in 1986 as a natural continuation of the collection of our parents Giovanni and Anna Pia Mazzoleni. During these 33 years, we exhibited works by over 150 artists, mostly Italian masters from the early and late twentieth century.  Immediately the collection and later the gallery have undergone the charm of Burri and Fontana, De Chirico and Savinio, Bonalumi and Castellani to name just a few. Over the years, we developed solid friendship and trust relationships with many artists, by succeeding in consolidated the connection artist-gallerist in a virtuous way. Today we experience the same emotion for David Reimondo, Shigeru Saito and other very promising young artists.

What recommendations would you now give to an emergent gallery?

The suggestion we can give to those who are approaching this path is to focus on emerging artists but marked by a deep and constant research. Quality is always an added value.

According to you, in which direction is the Italian market going today? Are the differences between modern and contemporary still broad?

Differences are still broad, even if auctions are showing a revival of modern and historicized artists, just think of de Chirico, as well as the '50s are having an important rediscovery, with Capogrossi, Turcato and Dorazio.

 

Mazzoleni Gallery, stand view during the 43rd Edition of Arte Fiera, Bologna 2019. 

 

III MeetMe --> PIERO ATCHUGARRY GALLERY 

When the gallery was founded in 2013, did you already planned the steps that took you here today? (exhibitions, fairs, collaborations that you developed through these 6 years)

Honestly, I never thought I would have done everything the way I did. I knew certainly that fairs were important since the gallery in Garzón in located far from the public and I needed to raise awareness on the gallery and the artists. So I started the fairs very early. My secret was to listen to the artists and trying to do the best for them. Many times they made me do steps way beyond my confort zone, but those decisions turned out to be the best. I always thought it is important to make publications, so we edited a book for the first solo show of Verónica Vázquez, at the gallery. We did books for Artur Leacher, and Tulio Pinto as well. We are currently editing a book on the show “Tension and Dynamism” with text by Domenico De Chirico, for the opening of the gallery in Miami. Collaborations started organically, we introduced many artists in Italy, and in the US market, such as Verónica Vázquez, Artur Lescher, Tulio Pinto, Yuken Teruya, Stijn Ank. Many galleries approached us to show their works, in Venice, Milan, London, Chicago and Lugano.

What recommendations would you now give to an emergent gallery?

Don’t give up, over time all the hard work will pay off. Be patient, and try to allocate resources the best way to have results. Let the gallery grow, and grow with your artists. Respect and befriend your colleagues.

Why did you choose to participate to Arte Fiera Bologna? What do you think about the Italian contemporary market?

I was born and raised in Italy, and here is where many of my friends live. I feel I need to be present for all of my collectors friends that supported the gallery and believe in our artists. Italy is an interesting market, and now more than ever people are interested in contemporary art. The Artistic Director of Artefiera, Simone Menegoi, did a brilliant work to give a new image to the fair. The selection of the galleries was the best in years, and you could see there was a curating concept between the booths. I think Artefiera will keep on restructuring and I can’t wait to a greater quality fair next year.

 

Piero Atchugarry Gallery, stand view during the 43rd Edition of Arte Fiera, Bologna 2019. Courtesy Piero Atchugarry Gallery

 

IV MeetMee --> NContemporary

When the gallery was founded in 2014, did you already planned the steps that took you here today? (exhibitions, fairs, collaborations that you developed over the years). 

The gallery was born in London. Since the beginning, the idea was to create a series of collaborations with international galleries in order to provide our artists with the greatest support as possible. We developed our activities in a better way over the years, but we have always kept our will to make “network” with other galleries through participating in art fairs as well as collaborating for gallery projects and off-site spaces.

Discover more about NContemporary on Kooness...

What recommendations would you now give to an emergent gallery?

It’s always hard to give suggestions. From our experience, I can say that a winning choice is to focus on a first group of few artists in order to canalize most of the energies on them. I can also say that today all emerging operators of the market have to remember that one can win only if the system grows. For this reason, collaborations among galleries are essential to me.

According to you, in which direction is the Italian market going today? Are the differences between who deals with modern art and who deals with contemporary art still broad?

We started in London and concentrated on Italy only two years ago. I believe that the Italian market is extremely interesting, especially because of the very high quality of its collectors. We do think that there is still a need to better develop and guide the 30-40 years old generation that are approaching contemporary art, both in terms of galleries and institutions.

 

NContemporary, stand view during the 43rd Edition of Arte Fiera, Bologna 2019. Courtesy of NContemporary

 

V MeetMe --> FEDERICA SCHIAVO GALLERY

When the gallery was founded in 2009 in Rome, did you already planned the steps that took you here today? (exhibitions, fairs, collaborations that you developed over the years)

When I opened the gallery, I had already planned and decided the first year of exhibitions, during which I worked to enlarge artists group. Since the beginning, I had some fairs in my mind I wanted to join but, except for the Italian ones, the real fair plan started the second year. 

What recommendations would you now give to an emergent gallery?

Paying attention to costs and creating a great engagement and “team” with your represented artists in order to get their support for all decisions and risks to take. Also, try not to be seduced by the chance of dealing with meteor-artists but rather try to build a solid program by looking at the medium-long term too.

Your gallery deals a lot with art institutions - during the last three years, in particular, working with Salvatore Arancio or Patrick Tuttofuoco, for example, from public spaces to the Venice Biennale -. Is that a good way to defend oneself from the contemporary art market in Italy?  

Participating to public projects and collaborating with Institutions is essential for the growth of one artist and for spreading his work. These are chances that should have nothing to do with the market but rather with the need and responsibility for an institution to create contents by activating the most interesting voices of visual culture. Unfortunately, today market affects more and more everything and we are losing many opportunities to create independent sources for the benefit of a future, more in-depth and interesting interpretation of the historical moment we are living in.

 

Patrick Tuttofuoco, Manovia, 2019, Pink Marble Of Portugal and Steel, 38x35x57cm 88x40x16cm. Photo by Carlo Favero.
Courtesy Federica Schiavo Gallery
 


* Cover images by Carlo Favero for Federica Schiavo stand during Arte Fiera 2019.

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