“I felt the need to continue creating dialogues with international artists just like my grandfather did in his time. I needed to look at new research more closely, and to have the opportunity to enhance my work through this juxtaposition”
AT: How did you start engaging with the art world and how/when did you decide it could become your profession?
FF: I always knew it was what I wanted to do. The first memory I have are the afternoons spent in my grandfather’s studio surrounded by paintings, canvases, tools, and sculptures. The experience taught me to see and appreciate the language of art. Subsequently I studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice and this city guided me in my research on light, absence-presence, surfaces and on the convergence of things.
AT: What moved you into opening your own space?
FF: When my grandfather passed away I spent a lot of time filing his works and reordering his latest experiments of the 1970s and 80s. Once his study was completely cleared the idea of Spazio ORR was born, a place of thought. I felt the need to continue creating dialogues with international artists just like my grandfather did in his time. I needed to look at new research more closely, and to have the opportunity to enhance my work through this juxtaposition.
AT: What are the toughest and the most fulfilling aspects of your job?
FF: When you choose this path you already know that it will be very demanding, but sacrifices lead to constant growth. Managing my work as an artist and carrying out the Space holding it at high standards makes the program an activity that requires 24h. It is a very immersive project despite being a relatively young creation. After just one year ORR has already had many results and that only makes me want to do better every day.
Vladislav Markov, Extra Medium | Solo show exhibition view, Spazio ORR, June-Aug 2020.
AT: Your space follows a clear programming research dedicated to contemporary installations and to a minimalist aesthetic. How did you come to this choice?
FF: With today’s focus concentrated above all on painting, it remains a duty for independent spaces to continue to highlight an array of art forms. This means to know how to bring to light the most current forms of sculpture and installation as well. Part of my interest regards the aesthetics of reduction, an idea that I also carry in my personal research. It is essential, for the focus of a space, to enter into dialogue with artists with a relevant vision and to be able to work close to where the artistic creations are born.
AT: You opened ORR less than a year ago and you have already collaborated with artists of a certain international relevance such as Nicolas Lamas, Valerian Goalec or David Hanes. What is your first step you make and how do you select the artists to work with?
FF: I always was certain that I wanted to have a program with a proposal that really spoke of the present. Before opening the space I contacted artists whom I believed were valid with respect to the focus of space research, and who worked in the international arena. Outside of Italy, the contemporary art system is more reactive, there is a continuous exchange between realities similar to ORR and the work of the artists. Artists are the protagonists of a real system that feeds on and moves relevant themes. I invite the artists in a way consistent with the ORR line. The researches that I carry do with ORR are related to the object and new forms of sculpture within contemporary art. It also encompasses the dialogue on space as an exhibition medium and finally covers the experience of working with artists with more radical researches that use minimal architectural interventions or assembly forms of sculpture.
AT: Yours is a space “designed by artists for artists”. How do you find the gallery-artist relationship in this case?
FF: I believe that having an independent space as an artist leads to communicating with other artists using the same language. When we study the exhibitions we often understand each other almost immediately. I know what they need and they know what I need for ORR to do a good job. In October, as an independent space, we will participate in the first SWAB fair in Barcelona. It will be a way to bring state of the art research to a new audience.
David Hanes, Powerless | Solo show exhibition view, Spazio ORR, Camera Project, May-June 2020.
AT: Your space is based in Brescia. How important is ‘networking’ in your job? How do you relate with your same-field colleagues?
FF: Brescia is a great city because it has an excellent collection of art, in fact it is one of the strongest in Italy. Bringing international artists to Brescia helps create quality networking around the mission of Space and in a future phase it will aid export ORR projects to other European contexts with a similar vision.
AT: What is “Camera Project”?
FF: Camera Project is a project that provides the opportunity for artists to work on an exhibition from a different perspective than usual. In fact, the presence of the artist on display is not required. The works are selected, shipped and once arrived in Brescia installed in the space. Through this method the artist needs to learn to come to terms with delegation tasks and proper planning. This way of working favors ideas.
AT: What is the role of the digital tool in what you do?
FF: Online communication today needs to be taken care of and cannot be overlooked as it is a medium with infinite potential and relevance recognized by everyone. It is Important to use it consistently.
Nicolas Lamas, Unsustainable forms of things, primark sneaker, mammoth tooth, 2019.
AT: What do you think will be the role of the artist-run spaces, in the next future?
FF: Artist run spaces have the task of proposing cultural and just experimental discourses with a selection of emerging artists who find, in this format, the possibility of proposing authentic research in a free and unrestricted way.
AT: Next projects on site?
FF: Currently we are hosting the personal exhibition of Vladislav Markov, the artist of the M23 project in New York.
AT: If you had to give some advice to a youngster who wants to open a space, what would it be?
FF: “You learn by doing”. Often we start with an incomplete idea of what we are doing, resulting in us building ourselves through experiences. You have to start from a small place and design a mission and vision that is as clear and precise as possible.
Fabio Ranzolin, Champagne taste on a beer budget (detail) | Solo show exhibition view, Spazio ORR, Sept-Nov 2019.
Federica Francesconi (b. 1994) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice. In 2015 she worked as a performer at the Venice Biennale for Adrian Piper who won the Golden Lion that year. She worked as an assistant to Christiane Lohr and finished her studies with a master in order to open an artist run space. In 2019 Spazio ORR was born, which she developed together with her personal research. With almost a year of planning, Spazio ORR opened in September 2019. Starting from the main office in Via Cremona 115, Brescia, it then expanded with the Camera Project format. A focus on contemporary space research has been organized to offer an international cross-section. Six solo shows were hosted in this first year of programming and the publication of an artist book.