Dep Art Gallery

Painting Color Space, 2021, Milan, Dep Art Gallery. Courtesy Dep Art Gallery. Photo: Bruno Bani

Established in Milan by Antonio Addamiano in 2006, Dep Art Gallery, short for Distribuzione e Promozione Arte, also owes its name to the English word “depart”. It is accordingly a departure with a precise direction that traces the gallery’s path to date, a broad and varied cultural itinerary. It pays particular attention to certain Italian and foreign artists active in the 1960s and 1970s, without neglecting, however, subsequent generations, in a continuous exploration geared towards the interchange of artistic languages. 

Regine Schumann, IRIS, 2024, installation view, Dep Art Gallery, Milan. Courtesy Dep Art Gallery, Milan. Photo: Bruno Bani

The exhibition displays are designed to create a dialogue between the artworks and the space, which from time to time is adapted to differing needs or rearranged to show the works at their best. In particular, since 2015, with the opening of its current premises at Via Comelico 40 in a two-story building, the gallery has been able to strengthen its ties with its city and with the artists who have been associated with it since its inception. 

Every exhibition is staged with the direct collaboration of the artists or their heirs, and with the historical-critical contribution of curators. Over time, the gallery has also developed as a publishing house, producing catalogues and substantial bilingual monographs to accompany its exhibitions. 

Valerio Adami, Immagine e Pensiero, 2021, installation view, Dep Art Gallery, Milan. Courtesy Dep Art Gallery, Milan. Photo: Bruno Bani

“What interests me is how consistently an artist has defined their identity and a unique and recognizable language over time.”
Antonio Addamiano. Courtesy Dep Art Gallery. Photo: Fabio Mantegna

In conversation with Antonio Addamiano, Dep Art Gallery

The gallery doesn’t bear your name: tell us how it came into being

Dep Art stands for Art Distribution and Promotion and came from my first business, Dep Marketing. In English it sounds like the word “depart” meaning “to leave”. The idea I wanted to convey was exactly that of a path, a departure with a direction, a destination perhaps, clear and defined.

My journey in art actually started at a very young age. My father, Natale Addamiano, was a teacher at the Brera Academy for forty years; so art has always been the air we breathed at home. Since 2003, after graduating in marketing and despite having a small business in the sector, I started to help my father in his artistic career, such as organizing a number of public and private exhibitions and projects.

In 2006, I officially opened the gallery, with a solo exhibition dedicated to Mario Nigro. It was an ambitious project that captured the meaning of that “depart/departure.” I knew where I wanted to go and also which road to follow.

Your program: what kind of art do you deal with? What are the criteria for selecting the artists you represent?

I deal with contemporary art, meaning those artists born between the 1920s and the 1960s. I present the kind of work that you might call “analytical” research. In fact, what unites all these very different artists of ours is a certain leaning toward research and analysis. And each of them does this in different geographical and art-historical contexts. Artists of different generations and backgrounds who have examined a crucial aspect of the artistic practice in their area of interest and made it the center of a research that has lasted, and for some of them is lasting, a lifetime. I pay a lot of attention to career path and research. What interests me is how consistently an artist has defined their identity and a unique and recognizable language over time. Also partly basing the choice on my personal taste, I inevitably end up with a team of artists who also share a lot of common ground; this has allowed us to create interesting dialogues on several occasions, especially during the fairs.

SALVO. Sicilie e città, 2022, Dep Art Gallery, Milan. Courtesy Dep Art Gallery. Photo: Bruno Bani
Is being a gallerist in Italy different than in other countries? Is there a “Made in Italy” aspect to your work? What characterizes the Italian art scene?

I’m not sure that there’s an Italian style to being a gallerist. I think it’s more of a leaning, like the attention to detail or the way we’re quick at solving problems. My working method involves trying to support the artist in all the key moments of working together, from gallery shows to museum shows, from the catalog to the special project. As Dep Art Gallery we have a strong online presence with studio interviews, videos of exhibitions, and a focus on individual works. We try to leave indelible traces of each artist’s life for today’s contemporaries, and for posterity.

How has the art market changed since you opened your gallery?

I would say it has changed dramatically, especially in terms of professionalism and the use of new media and platforms. Today, the ease of communication and the speed of transactions has opened up markets much more, and as a result, trends change rapidly. We Italian gallerists have a way of engaging with an international public and the work of our colleagues around the world. However, at the same time, Italian collectors are also looking abroad, and we all have to consider new ways to constantly keep the public’s attention. From Indian art to Chinese art and new trends in African art. These days we’re all more curious, but as I always say, novelty doesn’t last more than three to six months!

What other question would you like to have answered?

What thing are you most proud of? I’m proud of all the books and monographic catalogs we’ve produced over the years. Producing a catalog from scratch is a complex and all-consuming job; the entire gallery staff works with different professionals to create a product that is of excellent quality, complete, useful and valuable.

After the success of the catalog raisonné on Simeti and the two most recent monographs on Adami and Salvo, Edizioni Dep Art has become a reference for worldwide collectors. More than once our foreign artists, who are less accustomed to important monographs produced by private galleries, have asked us to donate our books to the museums and foundations that they worked with, precisely because of the quality of the publication. And this is always hugely satisfying.

Read the full interview

Artists

  • Valerio Adami
  • Natale Adamiano
  • Alberto Biasi
  • Carlos Cruz-Diez
  • Pino Deodato
  • Stanislaw Fijalkowski
  • Imi Knoebel
  • Gerold Miller
  • Mario Nigro
  • Tony Oursler
  • Pino Pinelli
  • Salvo
  • Emilio Scanavino
  • Regine Schumann
  • Turi Simeti
  • Wolfram Ullrich
  • Giuseppe Uncini
  • Ludwig Wilding