Thanks to Art historian  Francesca Referza’s will, Quartz Studio is a strong experimental approach gallery.  This art dealer and her team look for artists that are willing to put themselves out there  to rearrange the artist/art dealer/ sale dynamics to create a dialogue among peers. Indeed, artists are invited to enjoy the space, to work in it and mould it to design unprecedented projects and site specifics.  Nothing seems to be predictable or reiterated over the time. Each installation has the aim of revealing something new, unsaid.

Missika – courtesy of Quartz Studio Torino

As I see it, this is the most innovative and the strong suite  of Quartz Studio. In all likelihood, those who love  experimental issues, will  love this space (and the following talk) and wonder why there are not projects like this all over the country.

When did you create your gallery and what about the origin of its name?

Quartz Studio was created in fall 2014. The choice of the name has more than one explanations: the  word quartz contains the word art without emphasizing it, quartz is a mineral that together with others belonged to the very first collections of rare objects in 16th and 17th century, lastly the harsh sound of this word reminds of my last name: Referza, that I did not want to use for discretion.

In a city like Turin, rich in cultural projects, what does your gallery propose as innovative? In other words, what makes you differ from the other local galleries?

Compared to Turin,  Quartz is an original gallery  as it is neither a gallery nor a traditional no-profit organization. Quartz does not either sell or benefit from funds. In fact we purchase. I’d call it a collector run space because it was conceived in order to support  the artists we love and collect them  by purchasing  their works.

What kind of artists do you choose? How do you make your decisions in a varied world such as Contemporary  Art?

The artists we choose are those who respect our taste as art dealers. Normally they are already acclaimed and those born in the ‘70s, but there are no preclusions of any kind. Had I to say our privileged means, considering all the exhibitions so far, I’d say sculpture and site specific installations.

Do you have any precise targets for your future programs to make your gallery grow?

The most important goal is to have a direct relation with the artists so as to allow them to make something they have never done previously somewhere else. A small  space of decompression compared to the binding dynamics of Art market. Satisfaction of our artists at the end of an exhibition is also ours.

Monk e Nannucci – courtesy of Quartz Studio Torino

Monk & Nannucci – ph. courtesy of Quartz Studio Torino

After 3 years of business, eight artists involved and nine exhibitions, in 2018 Quartz Studio will have the privilege of receiving the support of Sardi Foundation for Art by Pinuccia Sardi Cagnucci. The meeting between  the president of the Foundation and the vice president Angelo Bottero, thanks to curator and Art historian Lisa Parola, will bring about a sharing of production output and support to artists.

Are you currently displaying an exhibition? Do you have any planned? What about it?

Currently, Quartz is hosting an installation project by Athena Vida aka Gitte Schäfer (Stuttgart, Germany, 1972). The artist decided to put  a shop window facing a street in the centre of the space. A sort of androgynous god placing it on an multi-level altar corresponding to the different levels of spiritual elevation.

©bg QZ Athena Vida – courtesy of Quartz Studio Torino

The goddess  is placed at the centre of a rectangular space limited by  four red copper pipes , as if they were the columns of a temple. On the floor, near the goddess’s feet, we can see countless gifts, minerals, vegetables characterized by repeated colors: red ( pink and purple variations), and black. Besides, there are forms hinting at men and women sexuality offered to the goddess. 

©bg QZ Athena Vida – courtesy of Quartz Studio Torino

As the artist wrote in a press release, Deiknumena is one of the four parts of Misteri Elusini,  the rites and secret religious initiations of Ancient Greece. The mysteries celebrate  the return of Persephone, daughter of Demeter, into the land of the living . The myth tells that Persephone was kidnapped by Hades and taken to the afterlife. 

Being desperate, her mother neglected her duties and consequently the Earth froze.  When Zeus  let Persephone go back to Demeter, the Earth blossomed again and went back to prosper. The return of Persephone represents the rebirth of plants in spring and in a broader sense, life on Earth. 

Article & interview by Virginia Glorioso

English translation by Chiara Vilmercati