“Our different ages and our multifaceted paths confer the space an incredible personality”
AT: How did you start engaging with the art world and how/when did you decide it could become your profession?
MN: I founded State Of at the end of 2019 with the intent to focus my interest in the graphics as well as in the art direction of the space. Born in Genoa in 1996 I moved soon to Milan to undertake graphic design studies. Many reasons contribute to my choice: the statues of Canova and Francesco Hayez’s paintings of the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, in which I studied and worked for three years in the graphic studio, the marketing and communication lessons I followed in the New Academy of Fine Arts – Naba, where I attended the biennium, completed my education.
LZ: I would have liked to be an archaeologist, but to be (or at least try to be) a journalist gave by far the chance to travel the world, see, travel, observe, visit, know… For exhibitions, fairs, biennials, auctions, all around Italy, Europe and the world. As for the beginnings, at the same time as my university studies I began to write, mainly about ancient, modern and antique art. The only thing I was always interested in doing: seeing beautiful things, writing about beautiful things… said in a trivial way but that’s it. Take a car, train, plane. Seeing, studying, writing. I’ve been doing this job for 13 years and now I write mainly about criticism and the art market, at least when I can carve out some time, given the other things I do: university teaching, cultural and curatorial projects for fairs or exhibitions, ongoing collaborations with other publications, consulting, blah blah blah blah. State Of is a project born with the arrival of Manuela, but I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of years.
DM: I have studied History of Art at Università degli Studi of Milan. During the last year I started to work for Giuseppe Iannaccone Collection, close to the curator of the collection Risha Paterlini. I was assistant curator; in two years I took part in the organization of different exhibitions of young artists like Luca De Leva, Roberto Fassone, Beatrice Marchi. Moreover I collaborated with Alberto Salvadori and Edoardo Bonaspetti for the exhibition of Giuseppe Iannaccone Collection at the Triennale. Later I’ve worked for Cairo Prize; afterwards, I had an amazing experience at Pirelli HangarBicocca, the greatest experience of my short career. I’ve worked with great professionals, like as Roberta Tenconi, Fiammetta Griccioli, Lucia Aspesi, Dario Leone, and great artists like as Cerith Wyn Evans, Trisha Baga, Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Sheeda Gowda. I’ve always written about art for different magazines and now I try to put into practice what I’ve learned following my personal point of view about art and to build new imaginaries through collaboration with artists.
AT: How was the project State Of and the collaboration with Aretè Showroom born?
Aretè Showroom, has always played the role of a talent scout, looking for inspiration and creativity in the world of fashion. The idea to host an exhibition space like State Of comes from its dynamic and developing approach. The attention to the originality and passion of the brands that are selected by the showroom is the same that we, as a curatorial group, put in the research of artists and in the design of exhibitions. The relationship we have with the showroom is one of deep friendship and respect, we do not consider it as a collaboration, but as a unique project. The owner of the space, Gianluca Grilanda, with his aesthetic sensibility, has a eclectic personality with which is characterised by unpredictability, one day the walls are blue, the day after the walls are rainbow, maybe after a few days the trees in the garden will be fluorescent, who knows.
AT: You are three people managing the programming and the artistic direction of State Of. How do you collaborate and work together on the projects?
Our different ages and our multifaceted paths confer the space an incredible personality. The contacts and knowledge between critics and the art market, as well as Luca’s writing, Dario’s curatorial experience and Manuela’s path in graphics are just some of the strong points of the space. We were born recently and it is hard to say, but as long as we work together we are sure that our determination and passion will take us far, surprising us more and more.
Patrizia Emma Scialpi, L’estate sta finendo, difendo la città, 2019 | Installation view at Aretè Showroom | Courtesy the artist and State Of | ph. Credits Francesco Spallacci.
AT: What are the toughest and the most fulfilling aspects of your job?
As an emerging contemporary space, we can say with certainty that the pandemic has been the most difficult thing that has happened to us so far, since we have been under pressure from the beginning. We are happy to say, however, that we were able to react by recovering and creating an unexpected, but very stimulating, digital exhibition. The most satisfying aspect is to be in close contact with the artists and all the people who work with us, even if they are in other countries, as it was for the last exhibition, which involved artists from New York to Australia.
AT: Does your space have a specific and coherent thread passing through the exhibitions? Why this choice?
Our goal is to create a multidisciplinary artistic and cultural platform and this influence just one thing: always look for new people who have the energy and willingness to experiment to get involved with us, from artists and curators to photographers and journalists. Another important choice we constantly make is to organize talks to convey the messages that emerged during the exhibitions, involving the public and establishing relationships with the guests, whether they are writers, philosophers or artists. It is significant for us to make the thinking behind the artists’ works understandable and accessible, but we also leave a lot of room for interpretation, as our contemporary art’s name (“State Of”) shows.
AT: How do you intend the gallery – artist relationship? What is the first step you make and how do you relate with them?
The first step is similar to a courtship: when we believe that one artist is “the right one”, we fall in love with the idea of working together and try to approach. Since we recently opened the space, it is obvious that this feeling is not always mutual, sometimes it is simply postponed, we actually feel a bit observed, but it is ok. Just as in a love relationship it is often only a matter of physical attraction, with others there is a relationship of deep esteem.
Giovanni Chiamenti, Numen #1, 2019 (detail) | Courtesy the artist and State Of | ph. Credits Francesco Spallacci.
Jacopo Belloni, Le vulnerabili, 2019 | Installation view at Aretè Showroom | Courtesy the artist and State Of | ph. Credits Francesco Spallacci.
AT: How important is ‘networking’ in your job? How do you relate with your same-field colleagues?
We are three extremely friendly people who, over the years, have created interesting networks, also before the recent birth of State Of. Before we opened the space we were visitors and this allowed us to relate with confidence and extreme sincerity with who became our same-field colleagues.
AT: State Of “deliberately maintains its original connotation, to confront the space in the showroom with the required projects in the field”. How do you interpret this contamination between art and fashion?
Aretè showroom follows the time course of the fashion world, allowing State Of to use the available space in full or in part, when the sales campaign is over, organizing collective or personal exhibitions. In both cases we ask artists to interact with the space and so far there have been real works born from this contamination between art and fashion. For example “Trap” by Edoardo Manzoni or “L’estate sta finisce, difendo la città” by Patrizia Emma Scialpi.
AT: What is the role of the digital tool in what you do?
The digital tool has been and is for us both a way to introduce the projects and an archive to spread our work. Today more than ever we have experienced the virtual world of Instagram, transforming it into an exhibition space with the exhibition “Digital (c)ode”. Each digital artist is confronted with site-specific works, designed specifically for the platform, not adapting the format. This has allowed us to go even deeper into the potential of this tool.
Edoardo Manzoni, Senza Titolo (Fame) | Installation view at Aretè Showroom | FAME, 2020 | Courtesy the artist and State Of – Milano IT | ph. Credits Francesco Spallacci.
Edoardo Manzoni, Senza Titolo (Trap) | Installation view at Aretè Showroom | FAME, 2020 | Courtesy the artist and State Of – Milano IT | ph. Credits Francesco Spallacci.
AT: What do you think will be the role of the galleries/art-spaces, in the next future?
The role of galleries will always be to try to sell the works of their artists, accompanied by more or less serious curatorial research. Nothing will change. The “art-spaces” will hopefully be less self-referential and more concrete realities, perhaps focusing more on quality than on self-satisfaction. It would be even better if people working in the art word were more willing to cooperate and do network with each other in order to propose new and incisive interpretations of the contemporary world.
AT: Next projects on site?
A digital archive of the artist Jacopo Rinaldi and then a great exhibition on contemporary Italian figurative painting limited to artists born between the late seventies and early nineties.
AT: If you had to give some advice to a youngster who wants to open a space, what it would be?
MN: I believe that life is made up of opportunities, taken or lost that both outline a path. Whatever the job you decide or that you happen to undertake, you have to arm yourself with so much courage that, as Lea Vergine says, it exists only if you are so afraid. My advice then is to look for what scares us to fight against ourselves and surprise us more and more.
Pietro Ballero, lol, 2019 | Installation view at Aretè Showroom | Courtesy the artist and State Of | ph. Credits Francesco Spallacci.
State Of is a new contemporary art space, located in the residential neighborhood of Porta Romana and hosted by Aretè Showroom, a large space, coordinated by the owner and promoter of the project, Gianluca Grilanda. This art space is related to Aretè with the premise of creating a multidisciplinary artistic and cultural platform that explores the multiple languages of contemporary art, from painting to emerging experimental research, mirroring the study and training of the two project coordinators, Manuela Nobile and Luca Zuccala, plus a research on the intersubjective and post-media expression languages by the internal curator of the space, Dario Moalli. The exhibition planning is made explicit on these two parallel tracks, proposing a similar multidisciplinary mixture on display in constant dialogue between the two guiding forces. A proposal in perpetual contamination that constantly welcomes external curatorial contributions invited to dialogue from time to time with the programs and the space, guaranteeing a formal and conceptual reading on several levels; space that deliberately maintains its original connotation, to confront the space in the showroom with the required projects in the field.