Home Magazine MeetMe#4 | miart 2019

In the last article dedicated to Ibrahim Mahama's art installation we promised you to come back with more details about this 23rd edition of miart art fair. Curated for the third time by Alessandro Rabottini (April 4-7, 2019) the fair seems to confirm its willingness to be in the list of the top worldwide art fairs.

Titled “Hold Everything Dear” the fair has revealed its intent to express the diversity and complexity of the art market in all its forms. How? With a total of 185 projects promoted by art galleries from 19 countries, three days of talks open to the public, six prizes and acquisition trusts which over 60 museum curators and directors, designers, artists and writers, and a myriad of exhibitions and performances during the whole Milan Art Week 2019. So maybe the goal is not so far...But as you know, for us every #MeetMe is an incredible opportunity to peek behind the fair and tell you the stories of important galleries together with their protagonists. This time we met three of them: Cortesi, Alfonso Artiaco, ADA and UNA Gallery...

I MeetMee --> Cortesi Gallery

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

When we opened the first gallery space in Lugano, we mainly planned the type of art we would like to be focused in, the fairs we would like to partecipate (taking in consideration we had no track record at all to apply to the more important ones) and of course a business plan. The next moves comes to us step by step during our activity but generally you must have at least a 12 months view regarding the exhibition you would like to organize, fairs you would like to make application in the right way and maybe a new gallery location opening. Regarding the purchase of artworks you would like to hold and exhibit in the future you need a medium term view. Collaboration with artists/estates and with collectors grows together with your reputation and visibility.

What recommendations would you now give to an emergent gallery?

To exhibit the type art you love and you have good expertise, otherwise it is difficult to convince a collector to buy and to trust you. Grow step by step, in this sector you need time to earn credibility if you started from zero. Be reliable, remember that the reputation in this job is important as much as the art you exhibit.

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?

Regarding the contemporary art market, in Italy we have top tier Galleries like De Carlo, Continua etc. The thing we miss is a system that help to grow contemporary Italian artist in Italy. In the modern and post war we use to have many great masters, the challenge is to improve and consolidate the international visibility of them as the market is becoming really global in this sector.


Cortesi Gallery, Booth at miart 2019. Photo Credit: Cortesi Gallery


II MeetMee --> Alfonso Artiaco

When the gallery was founded in 1986, - 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 contemporary art scenario?

Anyone could respond with false modesty, but actually the path of the gallery was an idea that I nurtured and pursued with energy, passion and determination. These are the best features of my character that helped me to always have a real complicity with the artists of whom I have become, even before being a gallerist, a "fellow traveler”.

What recommendations would you now give to an emergent gallery? 

To have a precise idea of work and follow it by working hard and always remaining coherent. 

Throughout history, the city of Naples represents a magnetic beating heart not only for traditional art but also and mostly for contemporary art. How is your bond evolving today - always very strong - with the Neapolitan territory? Can Naples still measure itself with the main international capitals of contemporary art - both in terms of market and artistic proposal?

 Naples has always had an inexhaustible beauty, an extraordinary human quality and a dazzling culture. These are the main elements of the Neapolitan magnetism that has attracted the attention of those who produce culture and those who consume it. The city also has its opacities, but Naples competes with the national and international context. I think, just to give two examples, at Canova's exhibitions at MAN or at "Caravaggio Napoli" at the Capodimonte museum, both recently opened.


Alfonso Artiaco, Perino & Vele solo show, Booth at miart 2019. Photo Credit: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano


III MeetMee --> ADA

When the gallery was founded in 2017, did you already plan the steps that took you here today (exhibitions, fairs, collaborations that you developed over the years)? 

When I founded ADA in 2017, it was born as a sort of project space. Only after few months, I realized the need to follow artists in a broader sense and to plan a shared growth path with them. From that moment, I turned ADA into a real gallery and I started planning a promotion strategy that also included fairs, by supporting the artists represented in projects outside the gallery too.

What recommendations would you now give to an emergent gallery? 

My suggestion is to make sure that the gallery and the artists develop a shared growth path, in which to include their own audience. It is extremely important for the gallery's health to create a solid group of supporters, as well as, for the gallery owner, to establish a relationship of trust and sincere collaboration with the represented artists.

The choice of ADA, from a market point of view, is very brave: few artists, Italian and young ones. Why did you decide to start this admirable journey?

ADA’s focus is on Italian young artists, even though the programming will be enriched by the participation of foreign artists for the next months. That being said, when I developed the line I wanted to follow and started outlining the identity of the gallery, I thought of the need of filling a void, revitalizing the interest in the work and the direct relationship with the artist by of supporters.


ADA, Booth at miart 2019. Photo Credit: ADA


IV MeetMee --> UNA 

When you opened UNA in 2018, you already had a path behind of shows and projects developed with emerging artists, from your generation. What led you to proceed in two?

We have chosen to open UNA with the specific goal of professionalizing ourselves and laying the foundations for a contemporary art gallery that, we hope, can last: the idea is to grow together with our artists, working in close synergy and carrying on, in a crosswise manner, the respective paths. Working in two means joining forces and having the possibility of a continuous comparison, but also the ability to quickly frame one's goals and a certain speed of action, when needed.

The gallery was born in Piacenza, a non-fertile place for contemporary art. For this reason you can develop external projects, such as the collaboration with Leonardo in Milan or the recent successful participation at Miart. Does this energetic choice work? 

We do believe that today  the place where the gallery is physically located is not crucial, but rather the visibility that the gallery tries to reach through fairs, Internet and all the multiple windows that the contemporary art world offers today. Surely, the fact of having opened in Piacenza involves an important effort to gather an audience of collectors and people who are interested in our proposal as they often come from out of town to meet us and visit our gallery. Therefore, positive initiatives such as the collaboration with Spazio Leonardo or joining Miart are precious opportunities for us to increase our visibility and to weave new relationships and contacts: as a last example, the acquisition of one of our exhibited works by Fondazione Fiera Milano.

What recommendations would you now give to an emergent gallery?

Starting from ours, even though still brief, experience, we would first advise to focus on the definition of a program that is a strong and direct statement: in the bulimia of proposals existing today, it is certainly important to know how to distinguish oneself by giving a clear and precise line. Moreover, it is essential to calibrate each step well, not getting caught up in the anxiety or the desire to overdo it: every exhibition, or every fair, is a decisive moment, to which we must dedicate maximum energy and attention. We believe that attention to details and a patient and meticulous job can then pay back, in the long run.


UNA, Booth at miart 2019. Photo Credit: UNA


*Cover images of Cortesi Gallery and UNA during miart 2019.

Stay Tuned on Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the art world.