Otto gallery opens in Florence
The big window at via Maggio 43r – the antiquarian street – is covered in brown paper, awaiting the unveiling and official opening party of “OTTO, luogo d’arte” that will take place this Wednesday March 16 2011. Is this city and this street of mostly dark and closed galleries ready for a luminous dash of the contemporary? Olivia Toscani Rucellai certainly hopes so. I got to peek inside yesterday and have a chat with the new gallery’s owner.
Olivia has an artistic family background. Her father is photographer Oliviero Toscani. Her mother, Agneta Holst, is the creative spirit behind Megalopoli, the historic art and design studio which opened in Milan in 1978. She convinced a roster of THE most famous contemporary Italian artists – Ettore Sottsass, Enrico Castellani, Giò Pomodoro Michelangelo Pistoletto, Mimmo Paladino and others – to produce objects and furniture for everyday use. These pieces were exhibited at the Salone del Mobile in Milan for over ten years and are now collector’s items.
Megalopoli’s ethic is: keep art alive in everyday life. By opening this new space in Florence, Olivia would like to resume and continue the project begun by her mother, immersing it in the everyday life of our time, incorporating local handicrafts in the production of objects, experimenting with possible synergies between the artists’ projects and the creative capabilities and manual skills of master craftsmen, a unique treasure.
She teamed up with Mauro Lovi, one of the artists involved in the Megalopoli project, whose solo show inaugurates the space and who will also stay on as artistic director. Lovi’s exhibit Radura explores the personal significance of the poplar tree, a tree that he believes is at the root (pun intended) of all trees, and that played a role in his childhood experience. The Italian word “Radura” means “clearing”, that opening in the woods that is light-filled yet comfortably enclosed, and the gallery display is meant to evoke this.
Although the gallery space is small, visitors are absolutely welcome to enter, and the gallerist hopes to also involve school groups who could benefit from interaction with this work in particular (there’s even a pine house with a surprise inside!). An interesting line-up of contemporary artwork and design objects is planned through mid 2012.
Olivia Toscani’s OTTO luogo dell’arte intends to be a reference point and a metaphorical clearing where art lovers, collectors and curious travelers can gather; above all, a laboratory for the production of ideas, projects and objects in which the language of art meets everyday life. A setting for collaborations between artists and the master craftsmen who keep ancient experiences alive, both curious to try new things.
And new things are most welcome in this city that is experiencing a new kind of Renaissance (not the old kind – not a looking back but a step forward). I sincerely wish Olivia well in her activity and hope that it proves fruitful enough not only to be able to offer a wide range of experiences to the public in this space and beyond, but to contribute to this fecund moment of artistic production and creativity in our city.
Exhibition info: March 16 – May 8: Radura. (Clearing) Mauro Lovi
All images courtesy of OTTO luogo d’arte.