The brainchild of Benedetta, Federica and Vittoriano Spalletti, Vistamare opened in Pescara in 2001 with the exhibition Camera Italia curated by Giacinto di Pietrantonio. Ten artists were invited to take part in the event, including Enzo Cucchi, Alberto Garutti and Ettore Spalletti, who created important, site–specific, permanent works. Located in a historic 18th-century palace in the heart of the city, the gallery is marked by Classical architecture and rooms with frescoed ceilings. In almost twenty years, it has hosted a series of exhibitions presenting established artists alongside upcoming international ones, juxtaposing their works in a dialogue winding through the spaces of the gallery.
Its activity consciously reflects an identity strongly rooted in the local area and the Abruzzo region. In 2018, together with Lodovica Busiri Vici, Benedetta Spalletti opened VISTAMARE in Milan, as a place for its artists with a program that continues – yet at the same time complements – the work carried out in the Pescara gallery.
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“We feel like culture entrepreneurs.”
Lodovica Busiri Vici and Benedetta Spalletti. Courtesy Vistamare|Vistamarestudio. Photo: Ugo Dalla Porta
In conversation with Benedetta Spalletti and Lodovica Busiri Vici, Vistamare|Vistamarestudio
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 Italians have a special propensity for working in emergency situations, under pressure. For us, the Italian approach is a mix of making people feel at ease, spontaneity and empathy. Today, the Italian art scene is penalised by the lack of a system, a circuit, that lets the various players connect with one another and also by a trouble with presenting ideas and projects. An initiative like ITALICS could turn this situation upside-down.
What is the value for contemporary society of art on display in galleries? What is the role of the gallerist in Italy today?
We feel like culture entrepreneurs. Art provides an opportunity to see the world full circle, it is an invaluable tool for understanding society from a different perspective. A gallerist needs to know how to combine freedom to choose with responsibility towards his or her artists. The important thing is to find a balance between an idea for innovative work and attention to the object nature of the work of art.
How did you choose the gallery locations?
Benedetta: Vistamare opened in 2001 in Pescara, an apparently decentralised city, my hometown and where I live. In the nearly twenty years since we opened, it has become a place of encounter and dialogue for artists on the international scene. In 2018, we opened VISTAMARESTUDIO in Milan with Lodovica Busiri Vici, a place for ideas, projects and works specially conceived for the space, with a programme that is always continuous with Vistamare.
What kind of art do you deal with?
The criterion is that there is no criterion. For us, the gallery has always been central: we favour a personal relationship with artists who do pertinent work. What is important for us is the idea, a detail, an emotion in line with our sensibility, something strikes one of us, that we then discuss. The decision is instinctual, without looking around too much.
How do you imagine your gallery in ten years?
Like a blue painting by Ettore Spalletti. Able to tell our story and that of our artists.