Archive
Exhibitions

The collectors and the artists they choose to collect

Gemma de Angelis Testa, Eliana Guglielmi, Corrado Levi, Marcello Levi, Marco Rivetti, Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

Gemma De Angelis Testa

B.1949. Self-taught ex-model. Widow of Armando Testa, the creative founder of Italy's top advertising agency. Former head of his advertising film company. Since her husband's death in 1992, has organised exhibitions of his work, the most recent being in the Museum of Tel Aviv.

"After Armando died, I took even more refuge in art, saw many shows and bought various works including a Haim Steinbach. Seeing these objects, I thought of the commercial characters created by Armando, who certainly influenced his time. And because memories are short and his work might be forgotten, I thought the ideal solution was to ask an artist we had both admired to create a 'four-handed' work. I chose Steinbach... He discovered and admired the work by Armando and accepted my offer. And so the work [in the exhibition] `Homage to Armando Testa was born'".

ARTISTS

FORD BECKMAN, PIER PAOLO CALZOLARI, FRANCESCO CLEMENTE, GINO DC DOMINICIS, ANSELM KIEFER, GABRIEL OROZCO, DAVID SALLE, JULIAN SCHNABEL, HAIM STEINBACH, ARMANDO TESTA, CY TWOMBLY.

Eliana Guglielmi

B.1946. Runs a property company and her family businesses. Began with Pop Art, then Arte Povera and follows the latest developments in Italy and abroad, with a special fondness for installations.

"I began buying from Christian Stein and it was an important relationship. If I were to begin today, I would not be so tied to Turin, but would look around everywhere. Once upon a time, gallery owners were like vestals guarding the truth, the relationship with artists. Today it is more enjoyable; one can go where one wants. It is not that kind of enclosed convent any more, where even at an opening, four or five people circled around avoiding talking about what had been bought, as though silence were the rule of the game".

ARTISTS

GIOVANNI ANSELMO, LUCIANO FABRO, TONY CRAGG, RICHARD LONG, MARIO MERZ, GIULIO PAO-LINI, GIUSEPPE PENONE, THOMAS SCHÜTTE, LAWRENCE WEINER.

Corrado Levi

B.c1935. Son of a major collector. Architect, artist, poet, critic and university lecturer. Involved in the Transavanguardia movement and held exhibitions in the US in the Eighties, when he also opened a gallery in Milan. Patron of young artists. Keeps his collection in store as he does not want the works of art to become "an accumulation of things, without identity". His works also are exhibited in Rivoli as though in a store, leaning against the walls, on the floor, one zone representing the East Village (many of the artists have disappeared, either because they stopped working, or because they died), the other zone with young Italian artists.

"Once the artist Giulio Paolini told me that he couldn't see any difference between being a collector and being an artist. I like that, because there are, in fact, technical parallels: the collector has to know how to buy and to keep; the artist has to know how to create, and the critic how to think and read, but on a common basis of disquiet. The good collector, like the good gallery owner, runs on continuous tension, a broad vision of works which he must resist if he is not to fall in love with them too much. Great courage is needed".

ARTISTS

STEFANO ARIENTI, MIKE BIDLO, BOBBY G., KEIKO BONK, MONICA CARROCCI, SERGIO CASCAVILLA, PAOLO CASSARÀ, VITTORIA CHIERICI, MARIO DELLAVEDOVA, ENRICO DE PARIS, RAFFAELLO FERRAZZI, MANUELA FILIACI, LUIS FRANGELLA, DANIELE GALLIANO, RODNEY GREENBLAD, GREER LANKTON, AMEDEO MARTEGANI, MARCO MAZZUCCONI, CRISTIANO PINTALDI, STEFANO PISANO, PREMIATA DITTA, PIERLUIGI PUSOLE, WALTER ROBINSON, RUSSEL SHARON, LUIGI STOISA, DAVID WOJNAROWICZ, BRUNO ZANICHELLI, RHONDA ZWILLINGER.

Marcello Levi

B.1922. Art historian, critic. Succeeded Luigi Carluccio as Secretary of the Turinese Friends of Contemporary Art, when he helped organise exhibitions, including "Irving Penn" and "Eadward Muybridge". He has a special room for his collection, which he moves around, also to his daughter's house and his place by the sea. The veteran of this group, he says that Turinese collectors used to be jealous of each other, but now there is great friendliness and dialogue between them.

"After seeing the last Whitney Biennial I thought once again that the Americans are the most interesting, and if I were twenty years younger, I would buy them and the young Germans. In any case, I think photography is very stimulating at the moment".

ARTISTS

ROGER BISSIÈRE, DANIEL BUREN, ERICK DIETMAN, NICOLA DE MARIA, PIERO GILARDI, AUGUSTE HERBIN, JOSEPH KOSUTH, MICHELANGELO PISTOLETTO, GIANNI PIACENTINO, SALVO, GUSTAVE SINGIER, FRIEDRICH VORDEMBERGE-GILDEWART, GILBERTO ZORIO.

Marco Rivetti

B.1934. Managing director and now chairman of the fashion group GFT. In 1984, GFT sponsored a three-day spectacle in Venice with Frank Gehry, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. The high-point was Oldenburg's vast Swiss army pocket-knife sailing down the Grand Canal, opening and closing very slowly. "The greatest appeal of contemporary art is that it allows you to share in the life of the work together with the artist", says Rivetti. In 1987, Rivetti's family created a foundation to collect and promote the understanding of art of the last thirty years, especially Italian art, and international art in some way connected to the Italian experience. Rivetti keeps all but two pieces of his collection in the foundation's gallery. His company has helped finance Rivoli, and he was its chairman until 1993.

"I have chosen one work alone for the exhibition because Sugimoto represents me as a collector and as a person. How many times have I sat by the sea thinking of what there is in the distance, where the sea touches the sky, where the colours merge. I have seen this search for an unreachable, distant point in Sugimoto's work; it hit me in the stomach. I do not intend to represent the Rivetti collection by this photo, but myself because if I could, I would have taken it myself".

ARTISTS

HIROSHI SUGIMOTO

Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

B.1959. Formerly on the board of her family business, which makes plastic injection machinery. Now managing director of a business consultancy. Founder and chairman of the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo per l'Arte, dedicated to the visual and performing arts, and of an association that makes dreams come true for children who are having unpleasant medical treatment. As with Marco Rivetti, it was the experience of meeting artists that got her involved in contemporary art, and her major acquisition has been a collection of contemporary British artists. She also buys young Italian artists, women artists (whom she has chosen for this exhibition), and Americans.

"I began the collection of American artists buying from the East and West Coasts, but when I discovered that the New York artists had already 'arrived' I decided to focus my attention on those coming up in Los Angeles. Their language is very interesting and they seemed somehow linked to one another".

ARTISTS

VANESSA BEECROFT, ANGELA BULLOCH, KATHARINA FRITSCH, DOMINIQUE GONAZALEZ-FOERSTER, MONA HATOUM, JENNY HOLZER, ZOE LEONARD, EVA MARISALDI, CINDY SHERMAN, ROSEMARIE TROCKEL, ANDREA ZITTEL.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'The collectors and the artists they have chosen for the exhibition'

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 56 February 1996