VEDA started its activity as a project space in May 2016, in Florence. The project’s founding proposition was to give invited artists the opportunity to confront their artistic practice within the atypical architecture of the space, challenging them to overcome the intrinsic conditions of a non-accessible space, with no floor beneath the street level, visible 24/7. Following the need to pursue a deeper dialogue with the artists’ practices, VEDA decided to become an art gallery a year later.
After nearly 4 years of programming at the gallery on Borgo Pinti, VEDA is relocating. Further information on the location of the new space and upcoming exhibitions will be released soon.
“VEDA takes its name from an invitation to look. Or, to put it more precisely, it comes from the Florentine dialect for “look!”.”
In conversation with Gianluca Gentili, Veda
When and how did you first set up your gallery?
VEDA was founded in 2016 as a not-for-profit. We wanted to create a spark in a city that wasn’t looking much at contemporary art. The idea was to concentrate on each exhibition, giving the artist all of the support that he or she needed. Our strong rapport with the artists quickly transformed the profile of VEDA, and in 2017 we decided to become a full-on gallery. Today, we represent eight artists and participate in various international fairs.
The name of your gallery is not eponymous. Tell us about how you chose it.
VEDA takes its name from an invitation to look. Or, to put it more precisely, it comes from the Florentine dialect for “look!”. “Veda” invites you to observe, but not just that: it also invites you to reflect, to think it over.
Talk to us about the space you chose for your gallery and its location.
It is a very distinctive space: a seven-metre “hole” that cannot be accessed by the public and is only visible from the outside. It was originally two rooms in Palazzo Ximenes Panciatichi separated by a floor. The floor collapsed during the 1966 flood and the owners decided to just close the door, leaving everything as it was. Now, the door has been replaced by a glass window, the walls are painted white and all that remains is the frame of the old entry door.
Why did you choose this city?
I had two reasons for opening a gallery in Florence. On the one hand, I was drawn by its beauty and this timeless city’s history- and tradition-packed atmosphere, which you still breathe in today walking along its streets. On the other hand, sharing my passion with the city where I live and that still doesn’t have much contemporary art is a challenge, but one that surprises me with unexpected ideas and perspectives every day.
Your gallery’s first show: Would do it again just the same? What would you change?
My opening exhibition was in May 2016: a solo show for Marius Engh, “Eschscholzia Californica”, the first part of a larger project that Marius had been working on for years and then expanded at other galleries and museums. It was the first time that we were dealing with such a strange space and there were a lot of question marks. Marius installed an eight-metre tall eucalyptus tree that took up the entire height of the gallery: it got more than a few people talking around town.