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IS CONTEMPORARY ART CLOSING ITS DOORS? MAYBE NOT
Local papers had anticipated it. Mestre Contemporary Gallery was going to end up in the dark of budget cuts for cultural activities. A solution seems to emerge now, since the municipal space could be transferred elsewhere even if losing its identity. Exibart has talked to the Director of the space, Riccardo Caldura, who seems to confirm that perhaps we are not witnessing the umpteenth Chronicle of an announced closure...
<b>IS CONTEMPORARY ART CLOSING ITS DOORS? MAYBE NOT</b>Published on Thursday, December the 23rd, 2010
The use of functional urban stratification in Venice is very clear. The historical centre being the case containing treasures that the whole world envies, Venice in fact is the city of culture, tourism, of the so-called high elements; instead, the mainland is a place to work, a yard and a petrochemical pole. With the firm will to change course, the Contemporary Gallery project, developed by the municipality of Venice, aimed to bring art where people are used only to work and live. Four years after the start of the project a momentary stop seems to emerge, due to economic constraints. Here are the words of the Director ...

As the brief press release states it, " the Contemporary Gallery exhibition’s activity at the historic headquarters in via Piave is ceasing". Why is this happening? What will happen to the site?
In order to meet the budget demands, it’s been in place for a couple of years a process of securitization towards 18 real estate projects belonging to the municipality of Venice, including the via Piave space which will be sold on the real estate market.

What about the Gallery? Word has it that your project will be put on hold...
As far as I know, I don’t think so. There was an explicit indication by the Mayor and the Town Council in its unanimous decision to transfer the activities, without interruption, at the Candiani cultural centre, with which however the Gallery collaborations have been numerous, particularly from 2006 to today. Maybe it is useful to recall that the Centre has had an initial phase, in 2001, decidedly geared to the contemporary with Mainland exhibition as well as The Gift.

Un’inaugurazione presso la Galleria Contemporaneo
Tell us about the idea of doing a contemporary art centre in Mestre.              
Because a project on contemporary art could and perhaps should find meaning in the town of inhabitants and not only in the touristy one. A project that wouldn’t become a sterile confrontation with Venetian institutions but rather, one that finds a cultural identity of its own that makes the Contemporary art Gallery complementary to what is happening in town. Especially by making it a space able to speak beyond the borders of Venice municipality.

In which direction did the gallery move during these four years?                             We have mainly focused on individual exhibitions for two reasons: due to the space characteristics and because I think that attention should be paid to the artistic research in its specificity. We have supported the development of original exhibition projects, for the space to be translated for its production capacity and proposal. We have helped, on a non-exclusive basis, relationships with artists and institutions-both public and private -along the broad European area that stretches from the Northeast, which has always been regarded as an historical basin of reports by the city of Venice.

What about the exhibitions?                                                                                           We paid attention to those artists whose work was a refreshed reflection on modernism languages (including Igor Eškinja, Brigitte Kowanz, Alban Haidinaj, Italo Zuffi, Bianco-Valente). The collective exhibitions, more rare, served mainly to propose a partnership with the territory. The Contemporary exhibition has accompanied events such as intensive lectures, workshops, guided tours and meetings with the artists. All these tools are indispensable to animate the gallery and have an audience. 

Nicola Ruben Montini - Frocio - 2009 - performance presso la Galleria Contemporaneo - photo G. Cecchinato
What would the city lose without this space?                                                              
Not little, since Venice is aspiring, along with the territory, to apply in order to become the European Capital of Culture in 2019. There is however a keen interest on the issue and we received full support by so many artists and operators in a time where it was not certain what would actually happen and what were the administration choices. I think even this detail has pushed the mayor not to forget it. Now we are waiting for a new phase to be opened, among the difficulties of a sector that is heavily threatened due to the recent Finance Act. Hopefully it will all turn out well.

a cura di daniele capra

[exibart]

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