The Galleria Umberto Di Marino opened in 1994 in Giugliano. From the start, it focused on the coexistence between artistic language and troubled suburbs like those of Naples. The aim of this first experiment was to create a place that garnered interest and participation, firstly for the gallery’s circle of contacts and then for the entire community. Some of the most important exhibitions from that period were Napoli Borderline by Vettor Pisani, in 2001, and Architetture del colore by Hidetoshi Nagasawa, in 2002.
In 2005, the gallery inaugurated a new space in the center of Naples. There are regular and alternating exhibitions by young Italian and international artists in its schedule.
Over the years, Galleria Umberto Di Marino has put greater emphasis on its spirit of research, directing its interest towards an analysis of the relationship between architecture, nature, anthropology and alternative lifestyles. A close look at the territory and the support of the institutions has made it possible to mount numerous off-site exhibitions in historic locations around the city of Naples. To date, the gallery is proud of being managed exclusively by family members.
“I've always understood the gallery as an extension of my thinking, with the idea of expanding even further through the eyes of the artists.”
Umberto Di Marino. Courtesy Galleria Umberto Di Marino. Photo: Adelaide Di Nunzio
In conversation with Umberto di Marino, Galleria Umberto Di Marino
What do you predict for the future of the art system in the sector in which you work? What is the biggest challenge you’ll be facing?
I often used to stop and think about how some processes of overproduction were changing the art system. Already a year ago, with Visto da qui, I attempted to answer this question by stripping away unnecessary appendages in the exhibition. The greatest challenge will be creating a home-gallery that responds to that early intuition of a gallery as something for the common good.
When and how did you open your gallery?
The gallery was established in 1994 in Giugliano, Campania. At the time, I couldn’t help but analyze the area surrounding my gallery, the Neapolitan suburbs. Moving to Naples in 2005 allowed me to collaborate with more international institutions and artists, and this way, I became more focused on social and political issues, on how modernity and post-colonialism had failed.
Your program: what kind of art do you deal in?
I’ve always understood the gallery as an extension of my thinking, with the idea of expanding even further through the eyes of the artists. One of the most extensively developed themes is the reinterpretation of colonial dynamics; the overcoming of modernist dichotomous principles; anthropological, social and political research. Furthermore, with my artists, I’ve always tried to build relationships that were also honest and profound friendships.
Something important you’ve learned from an artist? And from a collector?
In regard to artists, I will never forget Vettor Pisani’s advice, especially his lucid and ever-current analysis of the art system. Among collectors, I enjoy mentioning the Cotroneo couple’s and Ovidio Jacorossi’s enormous passion for art, a passion that drove them to the provinces, and the incredible institutional organization and personal involvement of the Agovino and Taurisano collections.
How do you imagine your gallery ten years from now?
The need for a structural change in institutions and the reflection on the common good led me to imagine the gallery of the future as an intimate place, where it would be possible to do more work with artists and to visit the repository and the archive. I see it as a home-gallery, a home for our family and for those who want to get in touch with this new dimension.