ACAW - Interview with Roberto Ceresia

Asian Contemporary Art Week (ACAW)
Oct 17, 2014 1:52PM

1. How did you become interested in introducing contemporary Chinese art to Italy, coming from a family of antiquity specialists in Palermo? 

I started working with my father in his gallery specialized in XIX century European paintings immediately after high school, and when I was 25 years old decided to start my own venture, opening my own gallery in my hometown. At the beginning I started dealing with Italian and international modern art, but soon realized how fascinating it was to engage with living artists, thus started to look around and to some living artists. The program of my gallery back then was not entirely devoted to contemporary art, but was rather reflecting my growing interest and exploration of a brand new environment. As I started visiting Hong Kong and China around 2005 I met some artists and invited them to join my gallery program. Eventually, in 2007, I decided to open AIKE DELLARCO in Shanghai, focusing on Chinese artists only.

2. What were some of the projects and artists you introduced back then, and what was the experience like? 

It was Lee Kit’s first solo in my Italian gallery, back in 2009; the title of the show was “A Suit-case.” In that show the artist folded all the works of the exhibition, several pieces of fabric that were hand painted and used in his daily life as tablecloths, bed sheets or curtains, into an old suitcase, documenting the travel of this suitcase from his studio in Hong Kong to the gallery in Italy.

3. Can you tell us a bit about how you set up shop in Shanghai at 50 Moganshan Road? What’s in the name AIKE-DELLARCO?   

In 2007 I decided to open a gallery in China, and after some trips around Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai, I went for Shanghai. 

4. The artist we have selected together for the Field Meeting, Li Shurui, will present a rather unusual project that occupy both of the gallery’s two spaces. How do you work with these two very different architectural settings? 

One space function as an office that is not open to the public, while the other functions as the proper exhibition space where we hold the exhibitions. In this case Li Shurui proposed an interesting way to establish a dialogue between these two different spaces.

5.   You have stated in previous interviews that you are heavily personally involved in cultivating artists’ careers—can you share some stories?

I enjoy a lot the discussion and dialogue with the artists. That’s what I like most about this job.

6. The landscape of art districts like 798 and 50 Moganshan Road are marked by constant change of players, which in a way mirrors the delirious and erratic development of the contemporary art scene in China. During your time at 50 Moganshan Road, what are some of the short-lived spaces and projects that you thought were nonetheless memorable, quirky, and of critical importance? 

If I have to think back about memorable spaces that played an important role in M50 and eventually closed, I would definitely name BizArt, the non-profit space founded by Davide Quadrio and Xu Zhen.

7. The scene in Shanghai just kept getting more exciting: quality programming at museums such as the Power Station of Art, extravagant private museums, galleries popping up in historical buildings and neighborhoods, the West Bund development and its ravishing new art and design fair…How have these changes manifest themselves in the dynamics within the art community in Shanghai and beyond? What do these changes mean for you and your gallery?  

We have just participated to the West Bund art fair, and it was a refreshing experience: impressive location, high quality of artworks displayed and a great energy in terms of participation and engagement of the art community.

Asian Contemporary Art Week (ACAW)