Tomoo Gokita, Game Over, 2020, exhibition view, MASSIMODECARLO, Milano/Lombardia. Courtesy MASSIMODECARLO, Milan / London / Hong Kong. Photo: Roberto Marossi

Founded in Milan in 1987, for over thirty years MASSIMODECARLO has played a fundamental role in introducing Italian artists to international audiences as well as bringing the most interesting voices of global art to Italy, promoting a vital dialogue between artists, institutions, critics, curators and collectors.

Over the years, the artists represented by the gallery have all gained international recognition, have been shown in renowned museums and biennials and their works are widely collected in public and private collections.
After opening a new space in London in 2009 and another one in Hong Kong at the beginning of 2016, in the same year MASSIMODECARLO inaugurated a second space in the center of Milan, in Palazzo Belgioioso, in the heart of the city, the gallery’s exhibition venue until 2021.

Massimo De Carlo
MASSIMODECARLO Milano/Lombardia – Casa Corbellini-Wassermann. Courtesy MASSIMODECARLO, Milan / London / Hong Kong. Photo: Delfino Sisto Legnani e Marco Cappelletti

In 2019, MASSIMODECARLO inaugurated its main new Milanese exhibition space at Casa Corbellini-Wassermann, an extraordinary 20th-century building designed by the Italian architect Piero Portaluppi, thus continuing to foster the dialogue between historical architectural sites and the work of the most authoritative voices of contemporary art.

“From Rudolf Stingel, I learned that without the artist the art system doesn’t exist.”
Massimo De Carlo. Courtesy MASSIMODECARLO, Milan / London / Hong Kong. Photo: Pasquale Abbattista

In conversation with Massimo De Carlo, MASSIMODECARLO

What value does the art on exhibit in galleries offer to contemporary society? What role does a gallerist play in Italy today?

A gallery is the first place that art lands outside the artist’s studio, and for me, the gallerist’s most important added value in the system continues to be the ability to look at and select the best ideas and works with the artist. Only ongoing lasting relationships with artists allow them to represent their work in a coherent way and with the conviction needed to help them emerge in society and the market.

How did your career in art begin?

I arrived at contemporary art through music, as a fan of experimental jazz. The ties between music and visual culture inspired me to explore it further, and then, though I hadn’t planned it, to make a profession of it. Being around great musicians really helped me understand artists’ needs and ambitions. The work did the rest.

Tomoo Gokita, Game Over, 2020, exhibition view, MASSIMODECARLO, Milano/Lombardia. Courtesy MASSIMODECARLO, Milan / London / Hong Kong. Photo: Roberto Marossi
When and how did you open your gallery?

I opened the gallery in the late 1980s, when contemporary art sales were so poor that each one deserved a celebration. The art system didn’t have much to do with the adrenaline-fueled, bulimic, hyper-communicative version we’ve experienced in the last few years. I opened with an exhibition by Olivier Mosset: I’m proud to still represent him today, more than thirty years later.

Tell us about the space you chose for your gallery and the surrounding area.

My priority is to offer artists special spaces and opportunities for experimentation and challenge. I abandoned the “white cube” years ago to offer them settings with more meaning and stratifications – visual ones as well. The new branch in Milan in Casa Corbellini-Wassermann di Portaluppi is the most striking example of this, and it’s reinforced by the other branches and the latest virtual gallery project, the VSpace.

Something important you’ve learned from an artist?

Artists are sporadic teachers. However, from Maurizio Cattelan, I learned that art doesn’t exist without communication. From Rudolf Stingel, I learned that without the artist (and without continually recognizing and remembering his central role) the art system doesn’t exist.

Read the full interview


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