Otto luogo dell’arte

Olivia Toscani’s Otto Luogo dell’Arte started out as a gallery/atelier/shop on Via Maggio, in Florence. The gallery was a meeting-place for art-lovers, curious travelers, collectors and illustrious tourists; but above all, a laboratory for the production of ideas, projects and objects, where the language of art met with daily life and its accoutrements. We placed great interest on all artistic techniques and ways of working materials. We undertook to realize our projects with the skills and know-how of Tuscan crafts, its great wealth of ancient experience and experimentation with high technology.

After two years of exhibitions and project proposals, Otto Luogo dell’Arte is transforming itself and changing location. We explored the difficult border-zones where creativity is free, but must also confront parameters. The space between art and design, which has evoked so much passion, so many doubts and/or perplexities, depending on the observer’s philosophy. With our small private initiative, with no public funding, we ventured into this stormy sea with a will to bet on the dreamy sidelong glances of those who don’t accept the conformity of things, but to whom conformity itself suggests new ways of doing things, and new objects to create. We produced 22 shows and events, hosted 73 artists, architects, designers, photographer and writers, of all ages, from all over the world; they gave us and our visitors previously unseen, interesting visions and perspectives.

With them, we explored their expressive techniques, both ancient and futuristic: mosaic, wrought iron, carpentry, weaving, lost-wax casting, ceramics, majolica, terracotta, glass, marquetry, marble-carving, aluminum, lamps, photography, installations, acrylic- and oil-painting, collage, drawing, fiction, etc. Through these techniques, we re-visited various objects, household and otherwise: beds, chairs, tables, lamps, mattresses, bedcovers, portable fireplaces, vases, paintings, centerpieces, mirrors, coffee-tables, grandfather clocks, cushions, chargers, tablecloths, sculptures, figurines, fruit-baskets, end-tables, bookshelves, even a book for your nightstand, etc. We opened up collaborations with other galleries, shops, quality producers and artisans. We faced the critics, and art- and design- historians, among them: Cloe Piccoli, Isa Tutino, Philippe Daverio, Vanni Pasca, Gianni Pettena, Alessandro Mendini, Beppe Finessi, Maurizio Vanni, Ugo La Pietra, Pasquale Persico, Maurizio Corrado…We opened a dialogue with the academic, public and private worlds to openly discuss new creative energies.

All this activity has yielded a collection of objects by various authors who need to be carefully defined and placed, in new ways, in order to give them the proper support. The space, or Luogo dell’Arte, has been an open shopwindow–we prefer to think of ourselves this way–we’d like to be even more luminous. Our experience exhibiting in Florence, and our participation in art fairs and other events in various European cities, has suggested solutions for further developing Otto’s activity. We think the time has come to identify the areas where our operative intent will be deepened and clarified. To develop our activity in a more concrete and functional manner in regard to the various aspects of the material with which we’ve always worked: the relationship between art and design.