“By or Of Marcel Duchamp or Rrose Sélavy”: an Interview with Sergio Casoli and Mattia De Luca

by Carla Ingrasciotta
December 11, 2018
Carla Ingrasciotta

Carla Ingrasciotta: Let’s start with the exhibition currently on at the gallery. When and how did you get into Marcel Duchamp’s oeuvre? Which of the artist’s work are you most drawn to?

Sergio Casoli and Mattia De Luca: The exhibition “By or Of Marcel Duchamp or Rrose Sélavy” is an ambitious project that aims to offer visitors the opportunity to approach the work of the artist who drastically changed the history of art and its language, radically altering our understanding of what constitutes an object of art. The scope of the revolution made by Marcel Duchamp is evident in his well-known “ready mades” – of which we have the privilege of showing the only one that has not had subsequent re-editions – but also in the numerous writings, notes, documents, catalogues, engravings and etchings that are part of this exhibit and that witness the significance of his ‘non-art’ activity as well. More than 100 works, many from his early years, show the complexity of the artist’s creative process, of the mental dimension to which he aspired to draw at the detriment of pure aesthetic pleasure, and demonstrate how those activities reflect the artist’s questioning of originality and reproduction.

Carla Ingrasciotta: Your gallery first opened in Milan, then you moved to Filicudi and recently arrived in Rome to re-open a new gallery. Why did you move to this city?

Sergio Casoli: I decided to move in Filicudi after leaving Milan because I was tired of the city comforts and the ‘ethical responsibility’ of the gallerist. The world and art were changing. I went to Filicudi because, to me, it represented the Italy of my childhood: a simpler and rural Italy, with little concrete around. Later I chose Rome, where I currently live. Think of the extraordinary beauty of this city, of its history, culture, architecture, streets and you will understand why a person chooses to live here.

Mattia De Luca: Although I have traveled and lived abroad, Rome is my hometown. My family, my roots are here. I felt my path in the art world had to start in this city.

Carla Ingrasciotta: You reopened a gallery after a 17-year break. How have things changed for you Sergio and what is working with Sergio like, for you Mattia?

Sergio Casoli: Today everything has changed: the system, the culture, the meaning of art. Re-opening after 17 years means to get back into the game and understand the differences and learn how to live in the contemporaneity.

Mattia De Luca: Working with Sergio means a lot of things. It means having a teacher, a partner, a friend, a person who shares with me a great and genuine passion for art. It is an extremely rewarding experience to watch him setting up a show, deal with a collector or talk to an artist. He makes everything looks very easy and enjoyable.

Carla Ingrasciotta: How did you meet each other and what is the strength of your collaboration?

Mattia De Luca: We met thanks to a common friend who strongly believed in our meeting. Sergio and I are very different people, and belong to different generations. It is precisely our differences, combined with our common love for art, that make our collaboration a successful one. We both see the gallery not only as a commercial activity but as a place where we can meet people, exchange opinions and plan future projects. We also prefer to welcome the collectors rather than chasing them..

Carla Ingrasciotta: How do you see your gallery positioned in regards to art and the market in Rome? Furthermore how do you see yourselves positioned in comparison to stronger players in the Italian art scene such as Torino?

Sergio Casoli and Mattia De Luca: We hope to contribute to strengthening the artistic panorama of the city. We believe Rome has an enormous potential that makes it competitive on both a national and international level. It’s a very popular destination for many international collectors, curators and museum directors. Also, there are many extremely active scenes, both private and public, and the cultural offerings are of a high standard. Perhaps we should work on a better collaboration between professionals in the sector and on a new and more effective communication strategy.

Carla Ingrasciotta: Could you share your thoughts on the contemporary art market along with its ecosystem and strategies? Do you apply for art fairs?

Sergio Casoli and Mattia De Luca: The art market, by its very nature, is dynamic and sensitive to changes. We believe that the current phase is extremely favourable to the great masters of Italian art, with excellent opportunities for the Arte Povera artists, as shown by the numerous exhibitions dedicated to them in prestigious international galleries and also by the results of the latest international auctions. It is undeniable that the role of auction houses is crucial – in the good and the bad – for the entire course of the market and of the contemporary art system, but it would not exist without the primary market and the hard work of the galleries.
We are still not sure about participation in art fairs, as we really like the idea of maintaining the “old” gallery approach. We could probably consider an Italian art fair in the future.

Carla Ingrasciotta: Any upcoming projects to look forward to?

Sergio Casoli and Mattia De Luca: An important project opening in spring 2019 of which we can’t provide details at the moment, but can guarantee will be a not-to-be-missed event.

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