“In other words I feel that in a world of deceit, art is truth”
AT: How did you start engaging with the art world and how/when did you decide it could become your profession?
SD: I didn’t study art history or anything like that at University. However, back in 2012 I had my very first taste of working in the art world, I had just graduated from university and I was pursuing a career as a freelance journalist/photojournalist covering social issues, inequalities born from drug addictions to post traumatic stress cased by wars. It was a fulfilling job but it took its tole on my mental health, luckily a friend of mine asked me to help during Artissima as a translator. It was a marvellous education for me and I fell in love, appreciating the work and dedication of artists (especially emerging artists) there and then I decided that my path was to follow artists in their creative endeavours. In other words I feel that in a world of deceit, art is truth. “Contemporary” art has a special currency today, as a reflection of our society. I do not like to put myself into the spotlight, but I do enjoy to illuminate the backstage, letting the art itself be at the center, therefore my intention is to create a space/gallery where artists express their creative freedom without boundaries.
AT: What moved you opening your own space and why in a place like Como?
SD: My wife, Benedetta De Rosa and I opened Galleria Ramo with temporary ‘pop-up’ spaces, exhibiting works in forgotten spaces but filled with history. By the end of 2018 we felt that it was more important to establish a base of sorts, therefore, after a long search, we found our new home in Via Natta 31, Como. Rich with artistic history, the city in recent years has fallen a little behind the times. When we opened we were the only art gallery in the city and we are still the only art gallery located within the city walls. However, Como is beautiful and what drew us here, was firstly its strategic location being exactly between Switzerland and Milan. Secondly, we enjoy bringing art to a public that is not the usual art world crowd. Moreover, we have been very lucky, as curators, museum directors, critics and art collectors travel from all over to visit us, so we had to make sure that our surrounding is as beautiful as the works by the artists we exhibit. I wish to point out that we still intend (and have some projects in the works) to maintain our ‘pop-ip’ attitude and we feel that Como, for now, is a great place but who knows what the future holds, maybe Tuscany or even further South?
AT: What are the toughest and the most fulfilling aspects of your job?
SD: Not including the Italian bureaucracy of opening and running an art gallery, I would say that the toughest aspect of my job, would be the uncertain economic period we are currently living in. Pre Covid-19 we created Galleria Ramo from our own savings but after just over one year of activity we have grown exponentially and thankfully our public has shown a great deal of interest and understanding of what we are trying to accomplish, we are hopeful and wish to continue our journey. There are many fulfilling aspects of my job, the most important being my daily contact with artists. They fill me with joy, intellectual stimuli, visual stimuli and on some occasions even problematic challenges that need to be resolved. Another important fulfilling aspect is explaining an exhibition whilst receiving positive undivided attention, appreciation and on some occasions an intellectual debate on either the work exhibited or the art world.
Galleria Ramo, 2018 | photo by Simon David.
AT: It is clear from your programming that you decided to maintain a line based on solo shows only. Why this choice?
SD: Our current space in Via Natta 31 is intimately small therefore, we decided, for the moment, to dedicate all four walls to a single artist.
AT: Your selection of artists is very wide. How do you intend the gallerist – artist relationship? What is the first step you make and how do you relate with them?
SD: Our main mission is to work exclusively with artists from our generation (born after 1980) as we believe that we must all grow together offering new possibilities, new perspectives, and new intellectual stimuli to keep the “contemporary” in the now and in the present. Hopefully, growing together and setting new standards within the art world, inspiring future generations to do what we do and to keep the world spinning positively forward. As an initiative, Galleria Ramo, does not currently represent artists directly but rather allows for freedom of expression, working on uniquely curated exhibitions, providing a platform for artists to express creative freedom, developing new forms of dialogue between local and international artists, spectators and collectors proposing new situations and radical changes rather than looking backwards. We wish to take this wonderful opportunity that you have given us to comunicate exclusively that, in the not so distant future, Galleria Ramo has decided to represent a small and selected number of young emerging artists. Therefore, focusing our energy on our new family and growing together as a team. However, not limiting ourselves and other artists we do still wish to give the opportunity to others to exhibit with us through a selection of curated ‘pop-up/online exhibitions and moreover, collaborating with other galleries and independent spaces.
AT: How important is ‘networking’ in your job? How do you relate with your same-field colleagues?
SD: ‘Networking’ is possibly the most important aspect of my job, connecting people to us, our artists and exhibitions. I am lucky to have a few friends that run galleries and we are always in conversation and in a collaborative mood. I feel that gallerists need to scrub off an ‘old-school’ mentality and start adopting a more collaborative and united approach to working together.
Installation view: “Antiforma” – Matteo Messori, curated by Federica Fiumelli, Galleria Ramo, 2018 | photo by Simon David.
AT: What is your relationship with art fairs?
SD: I have always been ‘on the fence’ about art fairs, as I feel that it might have created an unhealthy competition between gallerists and therefore artists. However, I believe, if used well they can be a very important tool and I admit that they are a very useful for meeting new collectors, new curators etc. overall growing a new dialogue with interesting people. I have grown to love and admire some art fairs and we hope to participate in a selected few in the coming times.
AT: How would you describe the collectors of your gallery? How important are they for you?
SD: Collectors are the backbone of an art gallery, artists being the spirit, brain and body, whilst gallerists being the voice. We are lucky to have some great collectors that are following us, believing in the artists and the role they have as much as we do.
AT: What is the role of the digital tool in what you do?
SD: The digital world and social media is as important as ‘networking’, which is especially true today. As I am alone most days in the gallery, I prefer to be in control of what gets posted on various social media accounts, whilst running the gallery. I like to give all our accounts a sense of connection to our visual graphics and philosophy. During the Covid-19 crisis I have learned, even more, the importance of social media, by using it as a tool to connect to with artists, curators, critics, other gallerists etc.. through a series of live Q&A’s on Instagram. A personal connection is key on social media as people get distracted from all the various ‘bot’ comments and follows/unfollows so I like to take my time to respond to all our comments and messages trying to give every individual a personal experience in the hope of making them feel they receive the attention they deserve.
Installation view: “From Above” – Dave Swensen, Galleria Ramo, 2020 | photo by ArtLand.
AT: What do you think will be the role of the galleries, in the next future?
SD: My hope is that all galleries unite in the common cause, which is to help artists express their creativity in any available capacity and to burst this bubble of ‘snobness’ and elitism which, in my view, has tainted our current system to the ‘outside world’. Understanding the new technologies that artists are already using and developing new technology to reach a wider audience.
AT: Next projects on site?
SD: We have many new exiting projects, which I can’t divulge now. But as I said before we are super exited that, in the not so distant future, Galleria Ramo has decided to represent a small and selected number of young emerging artists. So do stay tuned by visiting our website or by simply clicking that follow or like button on our various social media platforms.
AT: If you had to give some advice to a youngster who wants to open a space, what it would be?
SD: Be ready for the unexpected, work hard and have faith but most importantly as stated by Claes Nordenhake a gallerist should be a curator, an art historian, a cleaner of the gallery, guard of the exhibition, carpenter, DIY expert, shipping agent, storage administrator, graphic designer, photographer, bookkeeper, teacher and sometimes even a professor, cook, waiter, philosopher business strategist, somewhat of an actor, very often physiotherapist, sometimes a pimp, a lover, divorce councillor and marriage consultant, travel agent, good banker, sympathetic drinking companion, interpreter, professional, student, arms smuggler and drug dealer, at least according to Hollywood, for the artists and after maybe after all that, sometimes, a bastard.
Simon David, 2020 | photo by Benedetta De Rosa.
Simon David (b.1989, Lugano, CH) grew up between South Africa, Switzerland, the UK and Italy. Studied at School of Visual Arts in New York, Falmouth University and Node Center in Berlin. In the last years, David gained varied experience within the international art world, working with artists, curators and gallerists, having worked at Works Projects during Artissima12, Flowers Gallery, Christie’s, The Photographers’ Gallery, Ncontemporary and Buchmann Galerie. As an initiative, Galleria Ramo allows for freedom of expression, working on uniquely curated exhibitions, providing a platform for young-emerging artists to express creative freedom, developing new forms of dialogue between local and international artists, spectators and collectors proposing new situations and radical changes rather than looking backwards.