Housed in what was once a scooter factory in northeast Milan, Fluxia Gallery—named one of Milan’s best emerging art spaces by Dazed Magazine—sits on the artist-run Via Ventura, where galleries, designers, and emerging architecture studios have taken over a former industrial corner of the Italian city. Founded by Milan natives Angelica Bazzana and Valentina Suma, Fluxia opened on the heels of Suma’s former initiative, the Brown project space (co-founded with artists Luca Francesconi and Luigi Presicce and set in a basement) and Bazzana’s collaborations with galleries like Primo Marella—among others—in an effort to reel international debates on contemporary art to their home soil. Just before miart, where they’ll debut new works by Italian artist Luca Francesconi, we asked Suma and Bazzana about the Milanese art scene they say is in “full blossom,” favorite spots to look at art (or enjoy a Sbagliato cocktail) and why the city’s new energy has made Milan the Italian art scene’s next incubator.
Artsy: Can you describe the neighborhood where your gallery is located?
Angelica Bazzana and Valentina Suma: Lambrate is an ex-industrial area in northeast Milan. Traditionally, it is a cluster of factories and popular houses where, among others, the Lambretta scooter factory was located back in the ’60s. It is one among a few places in Milan where time has stopped. Our street, Via Ventura, was renovated in the ’90s to become a new pole where art galleries, designers, and young architecture studios have found their place.
Artsy: Why did you choose to open a space in that particular area—and generally, in Milan?
AB & VS: Milan is the city where we grew up and where our first encounters with contemporary art took place. The city has always had a great potential thanks to its historical, economic, and social patterns; a potential that is in full blossom these days. Fluxia was born from the desire to bring the international debate on contemporary art in a city where, five years ago, this kind of energy was still latent. Lambrate is the perfect location for linking the past to the future.
Artsy: Can you describe the current art scene in Milan?
AB & VS: Milan’s role in Italy can be described as an incubator: it’s the place where new energies grow before spreading out over the country. Magazines like Mousse and Kaleidoscope have their headquarters here, and both are active throughout the year by organizing exhibitions, talks, and events. Organizations like Peep-Hole, together with the many galleries and artist-run spaces, are part of the city’s cultural backbone. Foundations like Hangar Bicocca and Triennale are leading a cutting-edge program and miart is becoming an important international appointment for the art public. The collector base is solid and has an active, supportive role. It includes, in general, collectors from all of northern Italy.
Artsy: What are your favorite local haunts in Milan? Can you name your go-to places to eat, drink, and see art?
AB & VS: The historical center is having a new life. We suggest a night walk starting from the Duomo square towards Brera, where the Academy of Arts is located. The place to end up for a gourmet pizza and a refreshing drink is DRY, Via Solferino 33. Brera is also very lively during the day thanks to the students of the local Academy of Arts. An often forgotten place to visit there is the Pinacoteca (Brera Art Gallery). Also, for a real Milanese experience, one shouldn’t miss the aperitivo with a Sbagliato cocktail at the legendary Bar Basso.
Artsy: Can you name any events or exhibitions a visitor to the miart fair should be certain not to miss?
AB & VS: We definitely will pay tribute to Piero Manzoni by visiting the exhibition at Palazzo Reale. The program of events and film screenings at Milan’s Planetarium also sounds very interesting.
Artsy: Can you tell us briefly about your miart booth as a whole?
AB & VS: We are excited this year to participate in the THENnow section, where we’ll be exhibiting a new series of works by Italian artist Luca Francesconi, along with sculptures by Jimmie Durham, presented by Sprovieri Gallery from London. THENnow is the section curated by Giovanni Carmine and Alexis Vaillant where two artists from different generations are put into dialogue.
It’s an enriching and challenging opportunity both for us and for the artists involved, and we are looking forward to it.