Interview with Antonella Berruti, founder of the gallery Pinksummer in Genoa
Pinksummer. A name which evocates optimism, warmth, a long season of sunsets over the sea. Did Antonella Berruti and Francesca Pennone have this image in mind when they started their contemporary art gallery in Genoa? No, they received the inspiration via email from Japan.
When did you open your gallery?
In February 2000.
How did it happen?
It came out of my encounter with Francesca Pennone. Francesca had already run a gallery in Savona, and I was an art journalist. We decided to open a gallery together in Genoa. We found this crazy space in a 16th century palace – the opposite of a white cube. We were very lucky, and we started right away with a big exhibition: a two person show of Takashi Murakami and Miltos Manetas. Both artists attended the opening. It was Murakami’s first show in Italy.
How did it continue?
At the beginning our ideas were not so clear. We used to choose the artists according to our interests and curiosity. Sometimes we organized shows and events that were not commercial at all, like Carsten Nicolai’s performance in 2000. It had just been staged at the Guggenheim and then we showed it in our space in a collaboration with the municipality. Later we found our direction.
What is your direction? What kind of artists do you represent?
We like artists who break the boundary between art and life, who consider this border to be something evanescent. We like artists who make you experience the space, who intervene in our life, who communicate ideas that are sharp and visible in our reality. For example, Tomás Saraceno, or Tobias Putrih, who is now on show and developed a work about architecture and about the “emperors of data” like Facebook, inviting the viewer to rebel and to undertake small actions of protest – such as the use of software like TrackMeNot – which create economic barriers.
Which kind of space do you have now?
In 2005 we moved from our first space to another gallery which is also not a white space. It is inside Palazzo Ducale, a palace built in the Middle Age and then rebuilt in various periods, which had been the headquarters of the republic.
Tell us about your space in Rome
We were invited by Gate, a residency program for galleries promoted by the collectors Ilaria Bozzi Ferri and Flavio Ferri to take up the space for a year. We started with a show by Tomás Saraceno and we will continue with an exhibition by Georgina Starr.
What does the name of the gallery mean?
While we were looking for a name for the gallery, we received the images of Murakami’s paintings that were about to arrive for the show. One of them was entitled “Pinksummer”. We liked the name and we took it for the gallery.
What does it mean to have a gallery in a city like Genoa?
Being from Genoa it was natural for us. If we had gone to London or somewhere else, it would have had some meaning, but this is our city, our territory. Also the name we chose for our temporary gallery in Rome – Pinksummer goes Rome – was an ironic reference to the band Frankie Goes to Hollywood to underline the fact that we belong to Genoa.
Even if Genoa is a small city of just 600,000 inhabitants, there are very supportive and also young collectors, who have supported us and also the Villa Croce Museum, which maybe would not exist without them. Still we have incredible supporters, with whom we have very strong relationships, like the Friends of Villa Croce Association.
Pinksummer takes part in the 3rd edition of Granpalazzo from May 27th to 28th, 2017 with a selection of works by Alis/Filliol.
Palazzo Ducale, Cortile Maggiore 28R
Piazza Matteotti 9
Tuesday to Saturday: 3pm–7:30pm