Carla Chiarchiaro


“I have always conceived the gallery as a team carrying a recognizable identity”

AT: How did you start engaging with the art world and how/when did you decide it could become your profession?

CC: When I was studying, my goal was to pursue a career as a researcher. After specializing in the History of Modern Art with a thesis on Mannerist Iconology, I decided to move to Madrid to earn a master’s degree in Contemporary Art Market. At the same time I started working as an intern at Parra & Romero and, since then, I have never changed my work field.


AT: What convinced you to open your own space?

CC: After about 10 years working for other galleries, I felt the need to work on my own program.


AT: What are the toughest and the most fulfilling aspects of your job?

CC: The toughest aspect is certainly the economic one. What I find the most satisfying is seeing the gallery and the artists growing together.

Urara Tsuchiya, Homebound | Installation view at ADA Rome, 23 May – 26 Sept. 2020 | Courtesy of ADA, Rome | Photo by Roberto Apa.

AT: Does your gallery have a specific and coherent thread passing through the exhibitions? Why this choice?

CC: If I had to say the medium that most represents me, I’d say sculpture. But this is not quite the point. Beyond the gallery program, there is a strong unitary vision, that I share with each of my artists. I have always conceived the gallery as a team carrying a recognizable identity.


AT: You work with few artists, most of them Italian. How do you intend the gallerist – artist relationship? What is the first step you make and how do you relate with them?

CC: I see the gallerist – artist relationship as a path of shared growth. The first step is, of course, finding  a “spark” and that vision I was talking about in the artist. Besides this, the person is fundamental to me; it is necessary that I create a solid and loyal relationship with the artist to work well together.


AT: How important is ‘networking’ in your job? How do you relate with your same-field colleagues?

CC: Our work is 24/7 and networking plays a key role. There are different levels of networking, obviously: there are contacts, relationships of mutual esteem and then there are friendships. I feel lucky because I can say that I’ve been able to build some relationships of selfless dialogue as well as true friendships.

Urara Tsuchiya, Homebound | Installation view at ADA Rome, 23 May – 26 Sept. 2020 | Courtesy of ADA, Rome | Photo by Roberto Apa.

AT: What is your relationship with art fairs? Which art fairs you get along more with, today?

CC: I think that the current reshaping of art fairs, as a result of the effects of the Covid-19, represents a great starting point for reflection, taking into account the basically unresolved lack of sustainability of the art fair system for younger galleries. On my part, when I outlined ADA’s profile in 2017, I took into account what I had previously  observed and I tried not to base the gallery’s life on art fair participation; rather, I decided to get the collectors more involved – and constantly so. The fair I get along better with today is Artissima.


AT: How would you describe the collectors of your gallery? How important are they for you?

CC: Collectors with whom I have built a relationship of lasting trust and constant dialogue. They are fundamental, they understand the work that the gallery is carrying out and they ensure it by supporting the gallery artists. “Supporting” does not only refer to purchasing artworks, but also to actively participating in the artists’ growth, by sustaining them in projects with a wider scope, such as residencies, site-specific productions or publications.


AT: What is the role of the digital tool in what you do?

CC: Digital tools, particularly Instagram, are of great importance in conveying the gallery’s activities to the widest possible audience. However, for what concerns online sales platforms, I do not particularly resonate with this method and I do not believe that digitalization is the answer, especially for the circulation of a program like ADA’s. I still believe that having a direct encounter with the artworks and the artists is irreplaceable.

Luca De Leva, è stato bello pensarti, 2019 | Installation view at ADA Rome | Courtesy of ADA, Rome | Photo by Roberto Apa.

AT: What do you think will be the role of the galleries, in the next future?

CC: They will continue to have an important role, as guarantors of the path of an artist, no matter the level.


AT: Next projects on site?

CC: I’ll start from the current project: Homebound, a solo exhibition by Urara Tsuchiya, opened Saturday, May 23 and coincided with the gallery reopening to the public after the two-month shut caused by Covid-19. It was a very intense project, which had the artist producing works in Faenza starting in January 2020. Having a foreign artist produce works in residence is certainly more challenging, but it allows for a deeper gallerist-artist relationship, as well as offering them an opportunity for growth and facilitating their inclusion within the Italian artistic community. In our case it worked particularly well, so much that the artist, beyond the lockdown, has decided not to leave Italy yet and is staying for the next few months. The next project will be the first gallery solo exhibition by Diego Gualandris, which will open in October 2020, after the finissage of Urara Tsuchiya’s show, which will be on view until the end of September. We decided to extend the average duration of exhibitions in this period, in order to both work more on each project and to meet the slower mode of fruition that these times dictate. Even in Diego’s case, there was an approach to the gallery. After coming to Rome for a residency project, he decided to permanently stay.


AT: If you had to give some advice to a youngster who wants to open a space, what it would be?

CC: To start from a well-defined vision, on which to build out the gallery’s identity.

Xenia Perek, Tanati & Eri, 2019 | Live performance at ADA Rome | Courtesy of ADA, Rome | Photo by Roberto Apa.
Carla Chiarchiaro (b. Prato in 1983) lives and works in Rome since 2010. She received a Master’s Degree in History of Art at the University of Florence and a Master’s Degree in Contemporary Art Market and Business Management at the Antonio De Nebrija University of Madrid. From 2009 to 2010, she worked at Parra & Romero Gallery, Madrid; from 2010 to 2014, at Federica Schiavo Gallery, Rome; and from 2014 to 2017, at Frutta Gallery, Rome. In September 2017, she founded ADA gallery, Rome, which she currently runs.

ADA is a contemporary art gallery based in Rome, dedicated to promoting young artists. Through both its program and the selection of its artists, the gallery aims at constructing a strong identity. The gallery shares a path of growth and research with its artists and favours solo-show and site-specific projects. Since September 2019, the gallery widened its program to include live performances.