A collection of one’s own

October 26, 2016 Perspectives No Comments

We have appropriated the title of one of the most famous books by Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own, to introduce three stories of likewise Italian women who sustain contemporary art in Italy and abroad. Sharing the same drive and responsibility towards the public, who is their privileged spokesman, we have invited Valeria Napoleone andTiziana Fausti, in their essential role of patrons and members of miart’s Honorary Committee, as well as Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo–in her role of President to the homonym, Turin-based foundation–, to talk about their commitment to the arts and culture.


Valeria Napoleone is a London-based collector, who is committed to sustaining female artists both in museums and in independent spaces. Having been doing this for about twenty years, she has now turned her effort into a platform called Valeria Napoleone XX with the aim to expand her initiatives and “to set new partnerships with like-minded people,” as she told the Carnet. Among the most recent, Valeria Napoleone XX Contemporary Art Society (VN XX CAS)“looks at regional museums and, in general, at institutions in need of support. Every year, we donate them a work by a young artist. And the process is extremely relevant too, for it takes into the discourse the many diverse contexts and situations.” Another one is Valeria Napoleone XX SculptureCenter (VN XX SC), which has “the aim to support ambitious projects by artists who have their first solo show at the SculptureCenter in New York. For example, the very first episode made possible the realisation of Project for Door (after Gaetano Pesce), the piece by Anthea Hamilton presented in her first US museum show “Lichen! Libido! Chastity!” at SculptureCenter, which worth her a nomination for this year’s Turner Prize. What I find most important from my XX projects is the opportunity to set up a deep dialogue with artists and curators, which I think is priceless.”


Anthea Hamilton, Project for Door (After Gaetano Pesce), Installation view at SculptureCenter, New York, 2015. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Kyle Knodell


Both a successful entrepreneur and a collector, Tiziana Fausti opened her first clothes shop in Bergamo during the ‘70s–a business which now has expanded into an online retail platform and a shop of more than 2.000 square meters in the heart of this lovely town in the North of Italy. By the time, she began to collect modern and contemporary art as well as to promote cultural events, among which the most recent is the “Green Fashion” project, an exhibition and a series of public conversations held on the terrace of her Flagship Store. Her generous contributions for the benefits of art and culture are indeed firmly grounded in “the constant advocation for cohesion and sharing” since, as she added later, “they represent the only way to really cultivate a pro-active mindset in the art world.” Not surprisingly then, Tiziana Fausti is already thinking to give a permanent location to her collection, which will be dedicated to her passion for the art “with the aim to foster once again the cultural relationships between the private and the public sectors.”


“Green Fashion,” Bergamo, 2016. Photo: Leonardo Tagliabue


Since her a soon-to-be-legend trip to London in 1992, which coincided with the essential moment she started collecting contemporary art, collector Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo took “collecting as a form of exploration and knowledge, a journey.” When asked to think about how her practice changed over time, she recalls the establishing of Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in 1995 as her personal threshold. The Turin venue was opened in 2002, but for Sandretto Re Rebaudengo that “was never the space to exhibit my collection.” Instead, it was “the centre of cultural production and support of young artistic generations through the Fondazione’s exhibition program, involvement in the realisation of works and educational projects, and training.” She never stopped there and indeed, as she would suggest to any young collector to do, she kept on “travelling, gathering impressions and information, looking for expert interlocutors with whom to share these. Then one begins making the first choices and thinking about directions while trying at the same time to give space to intuition. But above all, it is essential to focus on the work and not on its author; and in this, not to ever lose curiosity but to exercise your eye, your intuition, and your heart.”

Ed Atkins, Safe Conduct, 2016. Production still. Courtesy of the artist


Cover image: Anthea Hamilton, Brick Suit, 2013, Installation view, “Anthea Hamilton: Lichen! Libido! Chastity!,” SculptureCenter, 2015. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Kyle Knodell