Strolling the aisles at BRAFA, we are awestruck by this Italian gallery: a magical place, a real collection of wonders.
Luca Cableri, how did this project take shape?
Our gallery is fairly recent. It was established in 2014, after I found this marvelous frescoed palace from the 16th century in Arezzo. Right from the start, I thought: this might be the right place to create my extravagant pieces, a gallery bringing the spirit of the wunderkammer, the room of wonders, to the 21st century.
What can amaze us in the 21st century?
Today, I see wonder as the search for objects, art objects obviously, that whoever enters my gallery can marvel at – just like an original bust from the Batman movie, a complete dinosaur skeleton, a unique, rare moon fragment. I want to stir emotions, and such extremely contemporary objects in an antique space like this frescoed gallery do create a wow effect. This is what I try to take out into the world.
This is your third year at BRAFA. What took you here?
It is an interesting fair that gives us interesting results. Visitors are eclectic, very open-minded, and every time I sell a piece, I personally take it to the client’s house. I am interested in seeing what they have at home, and they always surprise me with collections that combine archaeology with contemporary art. This is an extremely careful, niche clientele, undoubtedly cultured.
What type of art do you work with?
It is varied. This, for example, is the stele of Ramesses II, right down to Forrest Gump’s hat, when we really feel eclectic. I am not interested in historical art, what I am interested in is that it has a strong impact. When I mention Ramesses II, everyone knows him. Maybe they do not know what he did, but he surely amazes them.
Here we have the largest privately owned piece of Mars in the world. At a first glance, it looks like normal stone, but the value it gains, the effect it has on visitors is stunning. This is what I mean by stirring emotions. Think of having one of these objects at home, or at the office when you have someone visiting. It already gives you something rare, something interesting to talk about.
Have you been passionate about this since you were a child, or have you approached it gradually?
Gradually. I studied classical art, and fell in love with the Italian painting and sculpture. Later on, I came to love the pre-Columbian and Egyptian art, as well as art from Africa and Oceania, and then I got to dinosaurs, meteorites, cinema …. I have fallen in love many times in my life, which has led me to create these peculiar combinations. To amaze people is the leitmotif of all.