From a porter's lodge of a historical building that has lost its function, from the demolition of a boundary wall between this space and the public one, springs Platea Palazzo Galeano, a young reality created in 2020 in Lodi from a group of friends enthusiastic about art and architecture, with the common purpose of supporting young talents and their artistic production. A space devoted to contemporary art, the first permanent one in Lodi, hosting site-specific works.
WHAT WAS THE FIRST APPROACH TO PLATEA | PALAZZO GALEANO (AS AN EXHIBITION SPACE)?
Claudia Ferrari: When we decided to open the showcase, we set ourselves the goal of promoting young talent and contemporary art in Lodi. The first word I made mine was professionalism. Following the suggestions of Marcello Maloberti and Raffaella Cortese, we looked for the best press office (PCM); an excellent graphic designer (Alessandro Gori); a print artist (Michele Lombardelli), and we went on like this. This made us gain credibility and made us known, thus giving visibility to the young people we host each year both as artists and curators.
Carlo Orsini: The showcase device set chrono-topological rules of visibility from the very beginning: a rather drastic selection of possibilities. Complete 24/7 visibility and non-accessibility + the interposition of a glass between the gaze and the work determined the scopic regime of the device.
Giulia Menegale: The first interaction I had was thanks to Luca Trevisani, who introduced me to the Platea project and invited me to participate by providing curatorial support. I then met Carlo and Claudia during a call with the artists. That’s how we met, online.
I visited Platea, for the first time, during the last exhibition of the series started by the artist Marcello Maloberti, from then on, we started to develop each exhibition as a conversation with the artists, deciding to redesign the posters. No more curator-artist interviews but a single collective conversation. Moreover, with the artists we decided to think of the exhibition as if each of them had the task of making a single, strong "statement", a "declaration", "affirmation" on current events - seen from a different point of view, depending on their sensitivities, on what guides them as artists.
Giulio Locatelli: My first meeting with Platea was three years ago, in 2021, when I had the opportunity to display the TECLA installation in the showcase overlooking Corso Umberto I. The approach with the showcase space was to interact as much as possible with it in order not to use only its white walls, but to look and experience it at 360°. I tried to "break through" the space by opening a small door showing what the space was like before the work.
TELL US ABOUT PLATEA IN 3 WORDS.
CF: Inclusive, beautiful, inspiring
CO: An Incident of Gaze (it’s 4) INCIDENT OF GAZE (3!)
GM: Expansion, relationship(s), dialogue
GL: A beautiful reality. (Which allows young artists to be able to display their work, having the opportunity to make it visible to others and consequently grow through confrontation).
CRITIQUE OF THE UNEXPRESSED OR MISUNDERSTOOD POTENTIAL OF SPACE
CF: Platea's unexpressed potential is probably plenty, but we are working hard to discover it and give it a voice. Therefore, over the next three years Carlo Orsini together with a team of young curators is developing a program that will take us beyond the showcase, into other public spaces. Likewise, our wish would be to access national and international circuits of spaces similar to ours. Platea has been well received by local administrations that have always supported and encouraged us to continue. We have excellent relations with institutions such as the Fondazione Comunitaria of Lodi’s province, which supports us through the Bandi Cultura e Giovani and which this year co-financed the art-therapy project “Magic Carpet” aimed at teenagers followed by the Uonpia di Lodi; and like the Banca Centropadana with which we collaborate for the bando “Buon compleanno Platea” aimed at young people aged between 14 and 20. We are supported by the community and local companies that finance us and the local newspaper that closely follows our activities. Of course, there is still a long way to go, probably not everyone has understood the potential of Platea, I think the answer lies in cooperation and sharing with other entities that deal with culture, social, education...
CO: There is a lack of haptic experience of the works, one does not smell them, it is a mediated experience (but that is by status). An unexpressed potential could be the understanding of the showcase as empty-empty and not empty to be filled. I think of Emilio Prini...
GM:I do not think we can speak of unexpressed potentiality of space. I think that Platea's relationship with the Lodi audience is constantly changing, "we surprise each other". It is a give and take in which it is not clear who gives and who takes. The relationship between Platea and the space that surrounds it is more like a multidirectional flow, which acts but at the same time is also acted upon. Regarding the relationship between Platea and the contemporary art public, I think that Platea takes upon itself the great challenge of moving people from Milan, Rome, Venice, Turin (...). It seems that it often succeeds. Certainly, it is not an easy mission, rather it is an intention that must always be renewed to contribute to a redistribution of the contemporary art scene, and of contemporary culture in a broader sense, in Italy.
GL: The critical point that emerges when relating to such a space is that of not being able to dominate it, of not being master of the space one inhabits through the work, and so becoming overwhelmed.
DO YOU THINK IT IS THE SPACE THAT CREATES THE WORK OR THE WORK THAT CREATES THE SPACE?
CF: At Platea, space and work are in constant dialogue. The works exhibited are site-specific, so I don't see any hierarchy.
CO: Oeuf ou poule? doesn't seem to me to be the issue. It is obviously a matter of relationships and dynamic predominance of subjects. There is a space, a thematic input, a curatorial mediation and then the artist who "really" decides autonomously: the final word.
Of course, space determines a possibility and many limitations, but work and space grow in a morphogenetic sympoiesis (!)
GM: I believe that it is artists who create the space, with the traces of their making. Even those that do not materialise in the work but are there, present by subtraction.
GL: I think it is a mix of both, the work is affected by the space and vice versa; one thing I firmly believe in is that at the moment of an exhibition, the space and the work go hand in hand, they become one body and it is vital before the installation to be inside the empty exhibition space to understand what it looks like, where it is located, its characteristics...
WHAT SHOULD A PRESIDENT DARE TO DO?
Claudia Ferrari: We founding members of Platea dared a lot by deciding to open the showcase, considering my previous professional experiences, this feels like a wonderful adventure, I don't have the feeling of daring, rather of discovering. Maybe you need to have some nerve in fundraising, there you have to "dare" without giving it away and be convincing.
WHAT SHOULD AN ARTISTIC DIRECTOR DARE TO DO?
Carlo Orsini: Not to be afraid to put one's own biography and existential issues before the array of cultural elements with which he asks to interact. To present oneself emotionally "naked" in the relationship with curators and artists in order to dress oneself (as a patchwork) in the garment that is sewn together.
WHAT MUST A CURATOR DARE TO DO?
Giulia Menegale: A curator, has the responsibility of choice and it is in the act of choice that they must dare, without fear of suggesting paths that are not initially fully shared, or imagined by the other parties involved in the project - such as event promoters, the public, etc.
Naturally, I believe that curating is a collective act and never a purely individual one, even if in PRs it is written "curated by". On the other hand, every exhibition is the result of many conversations and negotiations, which is why I think you must start from firm and well-established positions that almost always also have ethical implications. Striving for certain things to happen or, on the contrary, not to happen we do not only talk about aesthetics when we make an exhibition, I believe that there is always a deeper layer, which we can somehow define as ethical, behind our decisions as curator.
WHAT MUST AN ARTIST DARE TO DO?
Giulio Locatelli: An artist must dare by firmly believing in his work, defending it to the sword as a mirror of himself, and he must also be extremely sincere firstly towards his work and secondly towards his interlocutor.
By Rebecca Chiusa e Silvia Sanpellegrini
FOR DARE CLAN