Art Keeps Collectors Going: Francesco Taurisano and Sveva D’Antonio
Portrait of Francesco Taurisano and Sveva D’Antonio with their collection. Photo by Maurizio Esposito. Courtesy of Francesco Taurisano and Sveva D’Antonio
Collectors Francesco Taurisano and Sveva D’Antonio are accustomed to regularly traveling to see art at museums, galleries, and art fairs around the world. And while quarantining at their home in Naples, Italy, is a change of pace, they’re still surrounded by art.
The couple lead Collezione Taurisano, a collection of nearly 400 works that was started by Paolo Taurisano, Francesco’s father, in the 1970s. Francesco took charge of the family collection over the past decade, together with his wife, Sveva, who is also a partner at the Sicily-based gallery Laveronica arte contemporanea. Under their direction, the collection is now focused on work by contemporary artists addressing salient social and political issues, such as Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Anne Imhof, Marinella Senatore, and Marianna Simnett. Indeed, art that speaks to contemporary life seems to cover every surface of their home.
Recently, we caught up with Francesco and Sveva to hear about the art they’re thinking about now and the live conversations with artists that they’re hosting on Instagram.
Apparatus 22, TO SUMMON NEW HORIZONS ... (to Sveva and Francesco), 2019. Courtesy of Francesco Taurisano and Sveva D’Antonio.
Artsy: During this period when we’re spending more time at home, are you discovering new things about your art collection?
Sveva D’Antonio and Francesco Taurisano: Our collection is our life. In our home, we are surrounded by amazing artworks. Each one of them has a personal story. Having such memories in front of us every day allows us to escape our daily routines, travel virtually to different places, and meet our beloved artists. Artists are dreamers and their art allows us to dream about alternative worlds, to invent new ways of imagining ourselves in society.
Leigh Ledare, Charlotte, 2014. Courtesy of Francesco Taurisano and Sveva D’Antonio.
Ser Serpas, Grateful Detest, 2018. Courtesy of Francesco Taurisano and Sveva D’Antonio.
Artsy: Is there a specific work you’re thinking about more?
S.D. & F.T.: One artwork that is keeping us company in this very specific moment is by Leigh Ledare, Charlotte (2014). It’s a photo of Leigh Ledare’s mother, lying naked on a floral duvet, legs spread, wearing only high heels and stockings. The image has been modified by colored crayon scribbles. We first learned about the artist through a show at the Schinkel Pavillon in Berlin and bought this work at the Code Art Fair in Copenhagen from Pilar Corrias in 2017. We’re inspired by the saturation of the color, the beauty of the image, but also impressed by the way we feel uncomfortable looking at it. It raises questions about the function of an image and the construction of subjectivity in contemporary culture.
Opavivarà!, Batuque na cozinha, 2017. Courtesy of Francesco Taurisano and Sveva D’Antonio.
Artsy: Have you discovered new artists during this time? Or are you returning to favorite artists?
S.D. & F.T.: We never stop discovering new artists. We love to open up our research to new scenarios in visual art. Now, we’re returning to our favorite artists like Michael E. Smith, Marianna Simnett, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, and Marinella Senatore. They each express the relationships between the body and the society, the individual and the community, in different ways. They lead us to rethink the way we live and bear in mind the possibilities of change.
Portrait of Francesco Taurisano and Sveva D’Antonio with their collection. Photo by Maurizio Esposito. Courtesy of Francesco Taurisano and Sveva D’Antonio.
Jana Schroder, Kadlites, 2017. Courtesy of Francesco Taurisano and Sveva D’Antonio.
Artsy: Have you found ways to support artists and art spaces during this time?
S.D. & F.T.: We started a series of live videos on our Instagram account. They’re sort of virtual studio visits, where the artists share their new work, the ways they’re living in quarantine, and what they think should change in the art system. We started with artists and then we interviewed other figures of the art world: art fair directors, gallerists, curators, and other private collectors.
If we want the art system to change, each one of us should rethink the way we act within it. Change, which is something artists are asking for right now, requires cooperation and gathering a community together, rather than acting individually.