Big cities’ low rentals and hip arts scenes are threatened by the constant rising prices of real estate properties and apartments rent which makes it harder for artists and art spaces to survive. This phenomenon has enticed some creatives to make use of living space to host art shows and exhibitions. These alternative spaces represent a possibility to engage with art and artists outside of the making money art world and to witness a more familiar and intimate cultural experience.
We like to ask Giovanni Morassutti, Italian actor and founder of project Art Aia, who turned his apartment into an art residency and pop up gallery that hosts artists from all over the world and allows them to showcase their work in the city of Berlin.
Hi Giovanni. Can you please describe Art Aia-La Dolce Berlin?
Art Aia – La Dolce Berlin is located in the site of an old Späti in the Turkish area of Wedding. The venue has an exhibiting room with a shop window and a guest room to accommodate the visiting artist while working on opening their art shows. Within the structure, there is also a bathroom, an extra sleeping room, and a kitchen. It is also the place where I live together with my partner Francesca Tasini. Since we are both into the film industry it is also an independent film production company currently specializing in documentaries and low-end narratives with themes including nature, creativity, art and gender equality.
Could you tell us what are the steps to turn an apartment or a house into a project space, art gallery or an art residency?
First, you have to find a place that can be appropriate for such a thing. I don’t necessarily mean a white cube kind of space but you need at least a spacious room where to install the art pieces making sure that the people can look at them clearly when they come to the exhibition.
Then you want to create a website and possibly a Facebook page and making sure the space is visible online.
For instance, on our website, there is a contact form where artists can apply.
Also posting open calls on the right online platforms is a good way to engage with artists. Once you start receiving applications you look at the work and if you think it is good you start to organize the exhibition. You nail down dates and then you start to promote the event. You can have a mailing list and spread the news on social networks.
Eventually, on-site, you install the show together with the artists by fulfilling their needs making sure they are not too demanding.
I would also recommend finding a good wine partner to provide exclusives refreshments at your events.
Can you tell us what triggered this idea?
That happened in my early twenties when at my family country house in Northern Italy I had a vision of the place full of artists working on their craft. I created an art residency which is still active during the summer. It is called Art Aia – Creatives / In / Residence. I started to invite, collectives and teaching artists like American drama teacher John Strasberg and photographer Mustafa Sabbagh to held masterclasses. I have noticed that there was some sort of ease that inspired the creative process… When I moved to Berlin in 2016 I decided to do something similar but in the city.
What is the best side of this project?
Having a project space into your apartment or house saves money and gives you the freedom to put on shows and events which are not necessarily commercially oriented. Also meeting and sharing the artistic experience with other artists coming from all over the world together with the Berlin audience represents a real cultural enrichment and creates a spontaneous circuit of people and a sense of community.