The Federica Schiavo Gallery was launched in 2009 in Rome. Over the years, the gallery’s programme has focused on seeking out and promoting the work of emerging Italian and international artists. The artists represented span a wide range of media, including video, performance, sculpture and painting, adopting a rigorous and original approach to traditional and contemporary subjects.
Focusing on the international scene, the gallery aims to support and encourage its artists in developing collaborative partnerships with galleries, promoting exchanges with leading international public and private art institutions as well as exhibiting at art fairs.
At the end of 2016, Chiara Zoppelli became a partner in the gallery with the opening of the new premises in Milan, and in 2020 the name was changed to Schiavo Zoppelli Gallery. The Milan phase opened with the exhibition No future ism by American artist Jay Heikes, which was followed by a series of exhibitions and international fairs.
In 2023, the Milan gallery was closed, to reopen in Rome as the Federica Schiavo Gallery.
“Our gallery, which is flanked by artist studios, brings an element of innovation and, we hope, a positive example to the quarter.”
Federica Schiavo. Photo: Federica Sasso
In conversation with Federica Schiavo, Federica Schiavo Gallery
Is there a way of being a gallerist in Italy that differs from other countries? Is there a specifically Italian approach to your work? What characterises the Italian art scene?
The gallery has always supported Italian artists, a choice motivated by responsibility towards our country. Italian galleries play a primary role in contemporary cultural production, supporting, encouraging and organising the activity that makes up Italy’s heart and voice, in part through the priceless artisan heritage at the base of Italian production.
What is the value for contemporary society of art on display in galleries? What is the role of the gallerist in Italy today?
Galleries play a fundamental cultural role in society. In a country brimming with old works of art, contemporary art is rarely seen as a possibility for development. Galleries give it the space to be created and seen, offering a new perspective, indicating a path, defining one kind of taste and then immediately going beyond it – Italy needs to keep playing this role in international cultural production.
Tell us about the space you’ve chosen for the gallery and the context it is set in.
Over the years, the gallery has tried out different types of space in Rome and Milan: from the austere Renaissance architecture of Rome’s historical centre to an apartment in the heart of Milan’s Quadrilateral district, and finally, before the definitive return to Rome, a venue with an industrial feel in Milan’s vibrant NoLo district. Many of the artists we handle are particularly interested in the narrativity between various artworks, and thus how they are displayed. They’re also concerned about the interior architecture of the gallery as well as the character of the neighbourhood and, most importantly, the host city itself.
Why have you opted for Rome and Milan in recent years?
Rome and Milan are two complementary cities, vastly different from many viewpoints but, looking from a broader perspective, equally capable of expressing Italian cultural dynamism and liveliness. Milan is undoubtedly more projected towards the future and has the pace and ambition of the great international metropolises, while Rome has an amazing ability to captivate, not just for its history but also for its very striking contrasts, which influence the projects developed there.