Q&A with Alessia Locatelli, curator of the OSMOSI contemporary art collective exhibition set to inaugurate City Art on September 12, 2019.
Alessia Locatelli won an international open call to be part of the Premi Miquel Casablancas awards jury, which she participated in thanks to a May 2019 curatorial residency endorsed by the Sant Andreu Contemporani, a cultural institution with a focus on contemporary visual arts linked to the Municipality of Barcelona.
Locatelli curated works by 4 Under35 Catalan artists: Juan David Galindo, Francisco Navarrete Sitja, Eduardo Ruiz and Anna Irina Russel.
Could you briefly tell us about your curatorial journey?
My curatorial journey began after my training in art history and a European Social Fund’s master in Communication and Organization of Visual Events at the Brera Academy in Milan. Following my studies, I collaborated with Denis Curti to the organization and creation of a series of exhibitions and festivals, including SiFestin Savignano and Canon’s Young Photographer Award. Meanwhile, I worked at the communication and organization of luxury events and fairs. My career took a major turn when I had the opportunity to work as an independent critic and curator with a focus on photography, starting down a path to both keep a contemporary culture of vision and try and support talented authors ̶ both young and not ̶ with independent projects.
How do you see the art market today in Italy and particularly in Milan?
These are pretty hard times for contemporary art. If on the one hand, photography is an absolutely valuable asset to invest in on the market and offer to collectors, there is low capacity to meet and network, but most of all to educate new prospective enthusiasts of quality collecting. There’s a whole category of young entrepreneurs and art enthusiasts that should be reached and guided towards contemporary and photography collecting. Investments in young authors and photography settle on figures that are accessible for enthusiasts. Further on in this direction, a new kind of collecting could be born, and investments in it could rise over time with no huge sums at stake. Milan still remains one of the most active cities, despite not leading the contemporary art scenario in Italy.
Your thoughts on the overlapping of the Milano and Barcelona Gallery Weekends?
I think this event should be greeted with great enthusiasm! First, because it finally creates opportunities to network outside our country and with the rest of Europe, which is what we all expect from the European Union. Second, it allows authors to benefit from cross-visibility. In this particular case, the exhibition “Osmosi” ̶ that I curated with the Municipality of Barcelona’s support via the Sant Andreu Contemporani and with the Institut Ramon Llull for the promotion of the Catalan language and culture ̶ seems to be the perfect chance to conceptually and materially take part in this exciting initiative. The exhibition will also explore a theme common to all: the relationship between mankind and nature. I have always believed that creating an exchange network between cultural institutions and the Gallery Weekends can lead to interesting, fruitful collaborations for galleries, curators and artists.
MGW: which opportunities can stem from events of this kind and which instruments can public institutions use to support these initiatives?
I think public institutions should take great care of this kind of events, especially at a time when they totally lack budget to otherwise support the contemporary visual culture. Public institutions should be able to endorse artists and grant them with discounts, as well as to identify local companies willing to serve as sponsors in exchange for visibility and connections with the institutions themselves. They should try and create a list of virtuous partners – galleries and associations – to collaborate with in order to lay out a shared quality event calendar. I’m thinking of a city like Milan, where cultural events often tend to overlap. I do wish that public institutions would also understand the importance of contemporary art as a useful tool to citizens’ critical sense and to their ability to interpret the present time.