TUCCI RUSSO Gallery was founded in 1975 in Turin by Antonio Tucci Russo. It opened with a solo exhibition by Pier Paolo Calzolari and has henceforth represented several artists belonging to the Arte Povera group including Giovanni Anselmo, Mario Merz, Marisa Merz, Giulio Paolini and Giuseppe Penone. Since its foundation, Lisa and Antonio Tucci Russo have focused their activity on the study and research of sculpture and its developments.
In the course of its history, the TUCCI RUSSO Gallery has also represented other artists such as Daniel Buren, Tony Cragg, Lili Dujourie, Harald Klingelhöller, Richard Long, Paolo Mussat Sartor, Maria Nordman, Alfredo Pirri, Thomas Schütte and Jan Vercruysse, always seeking new tendencies in the younger generations, working with artists such as Mario Airò, Christiane Löhr, Paolo Piscitelli, Robin Rhode and Conrad Shawcross.
Currently, TUCCI RUSSO Gallery has two venues: in Torre Pellice, a small town near Turin, where it occupies about 1200 sq. meters of exhibition space in a fascinating former textile mill, and in a historical palazzo in the center of Turin.
In the shadows lie eternity, Conrad Shawcross
Torre Pellice (TO)
The Abandoned Garden, Robin Rhode
“I have always thought of the gallery as a large space that can allow artists to express themselves freely.”
Lisa and Antonio Tucci Russo. Courtesy TUCCI RUSSO Studio per l’Arte Contemporanea, Torre Pellice / Turin. Photo: Archivio fotografico TUCCI RUSSO, Torre Pellice / Turin
In conversation with Antonio Tucci Russo, Tucci Russo Studio per l’Arte Contemporanea
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?
We still have, insofar as possible, the tradition of large exhibition spaces that sprouted up in the 1970s when there weren’t yet contemporary art museums and so the galleries were providing spaces that could host large projects. This remains the distinguishing feature of the Italian art scene, which needs more determination, skill and professionalism than elsewhere.
What is your background?
I started out a poet in 1970s Turin, a city at the time full of cultural ferment and open to international dialogue, where you could meet Carmelo Bene or Allen Ginsberg, as well as Mario Merz, Giovanni Anselmo, Gilberto Zorio and other artists in the middle of town, at the Bar Mulassano. It was also a time of social tension and political engagement. The dialogue of that time was part of the growth and formation of all Italians.
How did your path in art begin?
I would go to see the exhibitions of artists I knew at the Galleria Sperone, where I worked for a few years. It was a very intense period, and the national and international avant-garde movements of that time converged at the Sperone.
When and how did you open your gallery?
In 1975. I started out with a focus on Italian art: Pier Paolo Calzolari, Marco Bagnoli, Remo Salvadori, Sandro Chia, Enzo Cucchi, Mario and Marisa Merz, Giovanni Anselmo. In the 1980s: Richard Long, Tony Cragg, Daniel Buren, Maria Nordman, Thomas Schütte (I gave him his first solo show in Italy), as well as Giulio Paolini, Giuseppe Penone, Harald Klingelhöller, Alfredo Pirri, Jan Vercruysse, Mario Airò and Christiane Löhr. Each one of them contributed to creating a dialogue, though in their diverging languages.
Talk to us about the space you chose for your gallery and its location.
I have always thought of the gallery as a large space that can allow artists to express themselves freely. My first location was in Turin, first in a large garage, then in the Mulino Feyles. Now we are in a former textile factory in Torre Pellice, about fifty kilometres from Turin. But we have had a space in a historical building in the city centre for a few years now, maintaining our tie to the city.