I started my long and substantial apprenticeship in the field of office administration of art exhibitions during the nineties while I was studying modern art history at the faculty of Arts of the Sapienza University of Rome (“Maria Luigia, Donna e Sovrana: a European court in Parma, 1815-1847”, Palazzo Ducale, Colorno (PR), May 10-July 26, 1992; “Tutte le strade portano a Roma?” by Achille Bonito Oliva, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, March 12-April 25, 1993; “Umberto Bignardi. Opere dal 1958 ad oggi.” Presentation text by Maurizio Calvesi and interview to the artist by Laura Cherubini. Museo Laboratorio di Arte Contemporanea, University “La Sapienza”, Rome, February 16-March 12, 1994)
In October 1995, fresh out of graduation, I landed in the historic gallery of Paolo Sprovieri in Piazza del Popolo, and worked with him as a “jack of all trades” until its final closure in May 1996 (“RADAR” event – International Arts Exhibition, Latina, curated by Achille Bonito Oliva and coordinated by Paolo Sprovieri, including exhibits and dance performances: general coordination, set-up, and catalogues, for the “Art Russia” (December 1995-February 1996), and “Ineditoopen” (March-May 1996) exhibits, ex-agrarian council, Latina. General coordination and press office for the “China is close by Mario Ceroli. Anniversary of an historic show”, Galleria Sprovieri, Rome, March 14-April 10, 1996. General coordination and press office for “Oswald Oberhurer” exhibit, part of the “Rassegna dell’ arte austriaca 1964-1996”, Galleria Sprovieri, Rome, April 12-May 12, 1996).
From June 1996 to February 1997 I collaborated with Serico Srl (Services of Research and Communications of Rome) directed by Sandro Polci, getting involved in the general coordination of a series of exibitions which took place in the Museum of Archaeology of Aosta (“La Valle della scultura: da Rodin a Calder, I maestri del nostro secolo”, curated by Solange Auzias de Turenne, Museo Archelogico Regionale, Aosta, December 12, 1997-April 30, 1998.
The year 1997 was pivotal in refining my skills as an apprentice, since from February to January I took care of the general coordination of the exhibition “MINIMALIA”. Da Giacomo Balla a…” curated by Achille Bonito Oliva (Palazzo Querini-Dubois in Venice from June 12 to October 20, 1997)
After that extremely interesting but stressful experience I went through a deep crisis. I felt like applying my skills to a different field, and since I grew up in a family which worked in film I thought I would perhaps follow the same path in the area of film production. But that was not meant to be… I received a phone call from Valentina Bonomo, with whom I had worked organising “Minimalia” who told me that the well-known art merchant Carla Panicale (founder in the 60’s first of the historical Roman stand of the Marlborough gallery, then head of the “Galleria l’Isola”) was in need of an assistant in her office in Via Gregoriana. From February 1998 to June 2000 I worked side by side with Carla in every field. It was a unique and unforgettable experience which allowed me to learn the tricks and trades of the Art market, catapulting me into the world of art fairs from Bologna to Maastricht.
Alongside my apprenticeship, I inevitably spent time hanging around different galleries and artists, and since I always loved writing, that is how I came to write a presentation for the exhibition a young Roman artist called Roberto Perciballi, which took place in a renowned bar of the San Lorenzo area in Rome. In April 1995 I had a second chance to consolidate my writing skills, when I presented a double personal exhibit of Robin-Heidi Kennedy and Paul Thorel which took place in the historic Roman Bonomo gallery in piazza Sant’Apollonia, directed by Alessandra and Valentina, before they decided to split up and open their own separate galleries.
On the stride of that experience, my dear friend and artist Paolo Laudisa offered me to take care of an exhibition of four of his young pupils from the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome: Emanuele Costanzo, Roberto Falconieri, Federico Piertalla and Alessandro Reale. I thus found myself in charge, for the first time, of organising the whole exhibition “Imperceptible Noises” which took place in Sergio Rispoli’s gallery “Salon Privé, Arti Visive” in Trastevere. (October 17 to November 6, 1998). It turned out to be highly praised by critics and public alike. For the first time I was able to face all the different aspects of what would become my profession: from looking for a sponsor for the catalogue, to choosing the art pieces, the exhibition per se, working with the media, sales.
Riding the wave of the enthusiasm for the success of the exhibit, I decided to do another exhibition in another city, in different surroundings. I chose Naples, my father’s hometown, borrowing for the occasion the big family apartment where my father had lived, which was at that time being torn down in order to restore it, and was being divided into three separate apartments. That is how the “flash-exhibit” (September 15-17, 1999) “Rifiniture d’Interni: Violazioni di domicilio di 9 artisti romani in un appartamento napoletano” was born. I added two young artists to the project, Valentina Coccati and Julie Polidoro, plus three other artists who were already well-known in the Roman milieu: Paolo Landis, Paola Gandolfi, and Stefano di Stasio. All nine artists presented “site-specific” works.
While I was organising the Neapolitan exhibition I wrote a presentation piece for the show of Claudia Son Hyunsook (Galleria Salon Privé Visual Arts, February 1999) and I continued writing after my wonderful adventure in Naples (“The Ambiguous Light of Art” presentation for the exhibit of Carlo Bernardini, Roberto Falconieri, and Giuliano Giuliani, Galleria dell’Isola, Trento October 2000). In June 2000 I organized a second exhibition in Sergio Rispoli’s gallery, the place which had marked my debut (“Femminile Altrove – Cordoba/Bratislava/Dublin/Rome: Rosalba Campra, Petra Ferinacova’, Michelle Rogers”, Salon Privé Arti Visive, Rome, May 24-June 15, 2000).
Although at the time I was still not entirely conscious of it, the road to the opening of my own gallery was already under way, and it had a date as well: October 19, 2000. The whole thing started as a joke with a friend of mine who was supposed to become my business partner in the project. Fate weighed in heavily: while playing around with my friend and reasoning about the graphic design and name to assign to the gallery, we found a source of inspiration in a gallery, inside which lived and worked an artist who had just presented the collective exhibit “Femminile Altrove” in the Salon Privé Arti Visive of Via della Vetrina. I was in the initial stages of looking for a space for my own gallery and told him so. My friend said: “Look, my landlord owns a space right opposite my studio, which I am now using as a storage facility. Let’s give him a call right away.” I saw the space, instantly liked it, and took it!
I ran the gallery at 9, Via della Vetrina Contemporanea from 2000 to 2007. From day one all exhibitions turned out to be quite successful, both critically and in terms of visitors, and the best part of it was that I was able to close many deals and sell profitably. As years went by I managed to create a small nest of collectors, and in 2004 I won a Silver “Ago” – a personal acknowledgment from Achille Bonito Oliva for the promotion of young artists and best gallery owner of the year (tied in with Gianni Fonti from Naples)
When I decided to close the gallery we had an established reputation, and had participated in in three editions of Artefiore” in Bologna, having a notable success in the first two editions. By that time I became a mother of two twin daughters, and I soon realized that would become a full-time job. I decided to dedicate myself to a counselling course on healthcare, with the intent of devoting myself to something socially useful; I moved back to Rome after two years on the move: as far as I was concerned my experience in the art world was over and done with, but never say never! During Easter 2013 on a trip to Berlin, I casually got involved on a project relating to the Holocaust and the preservation of its memory. It was a very complicated project, and after two years working on it, I realized the whole project was undoable.
However, things never happen randomly, and although this particular project eventually came to a dead end, it made me realize that just playing the part of the “happy” mother was not enough for me, that I needed to exist on a different level too, that I needed to have a personal identity and existence separate from being a full-time mom. That is how I found myself returning to Paolo Laudisa’s studio and workshop, a decision which in time played a major role in determining the creation of my “Arteealtro” project. Struck and inspired by his new creations, a new fluid, spontaneous and surreal dialogue of sorts started to develop between us. This dialogue was mostly directed, I came to understand with hindsight, to ask myself questions on my own life: the whole process made me reminisce on my own story and experiences as a gallerist, and opened new sceneries and perspectives. That discussion filled me with a renewed enthusiasm, and I immediately started to look for a new space: I decided to find spaces for rent or sale on the market for short periods of time, 2 weeks at most, and organize exhibits in them. That is how my idea for “Arteelatro” came about, I called my first exhibition “Affitasi/Vendesi” (For Rent/For Sale). My first “Riprendo Il Filo” – Picking up the thread where I had left it – show was only one step away.