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Fondazione Pastificio Cerere was born in 2004. It is located in Rome, precisely in the San Lorenzo district. Its principal aim is to share with people the beauty of contemporary art. We had a conversation with Claudia Cavalieri, the director of the exhibitions and activities of the Foundation, who told us the whole story.

Pastificio Cerere - credits to: Ottavio Celestino

Once this building, Pastificio Cerere, was a pasta factory. We are in San Lorenzo, Rome, which is an industrial district that at the beginning of 20th century was full of industrial activities, such as the pasta factory, the glass factory - where now there is La Sapienza, the university - the foundry and the brewery. The district of San Lorenzo has always been a strategic point for workers and for the city of course, because it is located near the railway station. This district was the first one in the world that in 1907 hosted the first Montessori’s school. Maria Montessori decided to establish the first “Childern’s House” (that it still exists) here in San Lorenzo also to help all the workers with children. In this neighbourhood there are many realities. During the World War Two San Lorenzo is the only district to be bombarded in Rome for many reasons, maybe they think that in the factories there were weapons, anyways the pasta factory is the only building unhurt.

Giulio Bensasson, Non so dove, non so quando, diapositiva d’archivio #115, lightbox, cm 225x150, 2021; installation view Losing Control#2, Fondazione Pastificio Cerere, 2021. Courtesy Fondazione Pastificio Cerere. Crediti: Carlo Romano. Courtesy Fondazione Pastificio Cerere. Crediti: Carlo Romano.

The “Fondazione Cerere” was Born in 2004, but let’s start from the beginning. In 1973 the artist Nunzio, the first one that came here in the pasta factory, passes by the building and reads the sign “for rent” because after the Second World War the production of pasta is interrupted and the owners decided to reconvert the building. For this reason artists start being interested in renting spaces within the once pasta factory. At the time San Lorenzo was really different from nowadays: it was really experienced from a politic point of view but it was also a popular place, so basically in the centre of the city but due to its structure also with a suburbs touch. For this reason artists got interested to this part of the city and started to create spaces for art. So in 1973 Nunzio, who came from the Accademia delle Belle Arti, arrived at the pasta factory in which the “San Lorenzo group of artists” was born. In the group every artist had his own individuality and his own style, the most important thing was that they shared spaces and especially experiences. Artists started to rent some areas of the building, that with the passing of time they have shaped following their style.

Sara Basta, La prima madre, Installation view, Fondazione Pastificio Cerere, Silos, 2022. Courtesy Fondazione Pastificio Cerere. Crediti: Carlo Romano.

Another artist, who was a photographer, that worked here at the factory, was Francesca Woodman. The American photographer who revolutionised the contemporary photography created a study programme between 1977 and 1979. She lived in the ghetto of the city when intercepted the reality of pasta factory, still unknown to the most. The photographer realised some shoots in the building: actually her most famous pics have been taken here in the Pastificio. In the summer of 1984 the art critic Achille Bonito Oliva gave prestige to Pastificio with the exhibition “Ateliers”. Exceptionally for the first time the spaces in which artists used to live and work were opened up to the audience. This group of artists wasn’t homogeneous for what concerned poetics or language but it belonged to the same generation. They created a strong relationship between them and deep friendships also made possible thanks to the structure of Pastificio with its contiguous spaces used to work and meet with each other. A space in which various artists worked and people could come and visit the exhibitions. So Pastificio has always been a real active and prolific space. Consequently we arrived in 2004, year in which the foundation was born: a project that wants to promote contemporary art in this context.

Meletios Meletiou, installation view, mostra Buffer Zone, Spazio

Molini, Fondazione Pastificio Cerere, 2022. Courtesy Fondazione

Pastificio Cerere. Crediti: Carlo Romano

We are a no profit foundation. Nowadays here in the building there no more artists’ studies because they travel a lot but the Pastificio maintains a deep connection with art, obviously times have changes so the population of the city and society. We have organised many exhibitions here in the Pastificio and we also want to help the young artists to express their art, for this reason for several years we organised an award called “6artista” (we made five editions) that was destined to Italian artists.

So there is this kind of support for young artists but also projects connect to people. For example when we renovated the walls of the buildings, artists created some patterns to knit over the material that covered the walls in reconstruction.

Alessandro Vizzini, installation view, mostra VU - , Silos,

Fondazione Pastificio Cerere, 2022. Courtesy Fondazione Pastificio

Cerere. Crediti Roberto Apa


Yes, exactly. We promote young artists and over the years to way of financing the projects is changed due to the global crisis but in any case we pursued our mission that is educate young artists and then there is the connection with the territory that we develop here in the district of San Lorenzo. For instance the project “I Fuochi di San Lorenzo” opens up to the public with the street art.

We also have a section, called “What’s on San Lorenzo”, in our Instagram profile, in which every first Monday of the month we shared the artworks in the district. There are many spaces in which artists can expose their art. It is good to see how people are interested in our reality because we are not a museum and San Lorenzo is not in the centre of the city, but they come to visit us anyway. We of the Foundation Pastificio Cerere collaborated also with various artists to realise graffitis in different places of the city, for example here in San Lorenzo but also in the Garbatella district.

Alessandro Vizzini, installation view, mostra VU - , Silos,

Fondazione Pastificio Cerere, 2022. Courtesy Fondazione Pastificio

Cerere. Crediti Roberto Apa


Yes, we have to say that the style that an artist wants to give to his creations is strictly related to the artist because also in Rome there are many graffiti referred to “international” issues.

Alessandro Vizzini, installation view, mostra VU - , Silos,

Fondazione Pastificio Cerere, 2022. Courtesy Fondazione Pastificio

Cerere. Crediti Roberto Apa

Pastificio Cerere is a reality that allows people to approach the contemporary art in the best and simple way possible, that is creating connection between art, artists and the inhabitant of the San Lorenzo district and Rome.


For DareClan

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