There is a phrase that has been buzzing around in my head for a long time and I don't know if I have heard it somewhere, maybe read it, or listened to it, or if perhaps I dreamt it or if it simply flashed through my head, on its own, clear and pure. And it goes something like this: "The two years that have just passed have marked and taught". 

Not remembering the context of reference of this banal but timely phrase, I try to give my own interpretation. "Marked" is easy, it refers to the inexorable change in our lives, our habits and attitudes, our feelings and our way of relating to others and to the world. It seems, however, that this last two years have also "taught" us.

What? That we can be productive without having to waste 2 hours of our time getting to a place of work, that the constant rush and frenzy had made us saturated, tired and passive, that we needed to take back some time and that we are doing everything wrong with this planet (but that's a story we won't go into here!). It has taught us, and continues to teach us, 1000 other things, but perhaps the most important, is that we are not immune! None of us are. 

And neither is the art world. The art world, along with other cultural sectors, has perhaps been among the most affected and disrupted by the pandemic.

The habits of stakeholders, all of them, were suddenly altered, against their will, of individuals as well as categories. Suddenly the e-mail addresses of each of us began to fill up with news such as "cancelled", "postponed to a date to be decided", "postponed", "cancelled", "according to the latest dispositions, we are forced to …" and so on, for everything from trade fairs, to exhibitions, to reviews, to all the opportunities to meet and compare for the entire system.

Now, if a fair can be postponed and an exhibition rescheduled, it becomes more difficult for artists to make their work and research available at that moment, or at least it takes much slower.

This translates and takes the form of entire projects that are completely invisible, that artists have worked on or are working on, that no one will ever see because they may have ended up in the queue of completely postponed exhibition programmes, and in the meantime the world has changed and the artists' research and works of the last two years have not been enjoyed by anyone. 

by no one outside their studios. And in this context the projectStudioVisit.me, "an online platform that wants to promote offline" reads the website. 

2.Courtesy-StudioVisit.me_
StudioVisit.me - Homepage di StudioVisit.me -Courtesy StudioVisit.me

How? By providing a map of all the artist studios in Naples and Campania (for now!), which can easily be consulted online, but which also allows you to get in touch with the artists themselves and possibly organise a real studio visit in the places indicated. 

Tutto il progetto nasce da un’idea della gallerista Tiziana Di Caro, who, during one of the lockdowns we were forced into, realised that the only way we were still allowed to see and enjoy art was to go where it was produced, physically.

Museums were closed, galleries and fairs were postponed until who knows when, so the studio was the last possible bastion of a fruition that did not want to bypass the physical and rely completely on the much debated "online". Finding a solution that could overcome and counteract the overload of online content by trying to connect the physical, the tangible, was the challenge.

After these initial reflections, the desire to tell the story of these research spaces and the work that characterises them gave rise to the project. The practical implementation was then entrusted to the web agency Honeycode, in the person of Gianmaria Mazzeo, who also took care of data entry, together with the person who is writing this article. 

"The platform is not intended to replace in any way personal websites, nor those of the galleries representing the artists".

StudioVisit.me is exclusively a container-bridge for contact, but not a vehicle for the relationships that will be generated from it. The contact, in fact, is made directly through the channels provided by the artists themselves, be they emails and/or personal telephone numbers and/or those of the galleries of reference (if any). In fact, it is the artists themselves, or the galleries, who manage any contacts from StudioVisit.me. 

1.Courtesy-StudioVisit.me_
StudioVisit.me - Sito web - Courtesy StudioVisit.me

The platform provides a geolocation of the studios, which are linked to an information sheet on the artist working in that location, where various information, both conceptual and practical, can be found.  

Each card presents the following information: 

  • Text on the artist's research and work (statement or critical text)
  • Media used
  • Age group
  • Languages spoken
  • Social profiles
  • Technical information about the studio (parking, disabled access, wi-fi, etc.)

In addition to this, you will of course find contact details, the address of the studio and photos of the studio. 

Studio-Veronica-Bisesti.-Courtesy-lartisa.-Photo-credit-Andrea-Gerardo-Silvestri
StudioVisit.me - Studio di Veronica Bisesti - Courtesy of the artist. Photocredit Andrea Gerardo Silvestri

What is interesting to underline is that on the platform the emphasis is on the study-place of research, but not on the works and the fruit of the research carried out in that place. The reason for this is not difficult to imagine.

As can be read on the website, on the Instagram page and in the project's mission statement, the platform is not intended to replace the real thing, but rather to provide a tool that can intrigue online users and generate interest in offline. The use of the platform is extremely intuitive and adapts to the needs and requirements of all potential users.

The first screen opens with a simple and clear question (the site is bilingual. And the same simplicity and essentiality can also be found in English). The first screen opens with the simple and clear question (the site is bilingual and the same simplicity and simplicity can also be found in English): "Which artist are you looking for?" and the choice that is immediately offered is by: name, if you already know the artist you are looking for; discipline, if you want to have an overview of all the artists on the platform who measure themselves with a given media; and finally by city, to start a purely geographical search and explore what a given territory has to offer. 

Studio-Ilaria-Abbiento.-Courtesy-lartista
StudioVisit.me - Studio di Ilaria Abbiento - Courtesy of the artist

In addition, below this first search possibility, a suggestion by tag gives an idea of the most frequent searches by users. 

Continuing to scroll down, all the available categories are revealed, from photography to drawing, from video to painting and so on, concluding with an emblematic "multi-discipline" for all those artists, almost the majority, whose desire is not to identify with a predominant media. 

The next field shows the most recently added artist studies on the site. 

After this overview of search possibilities, the next sections of the homepage are dedicated to the functioning of the site, i.e. how to use it wisely to carry out searches, and finally an agenda of events and news concerning the territory and/or the artists involved in the platform. 

At the end of the deployment of the various possibilities of searching and using the site, a further section tells in points the aims of the site, a sort of declaration of intent which crystallises the will and ultimate aims of the site and its contents.

The artists on the platform, launched last December, are already many, ranging from the best known names on the Campania scene to very young up-and-coming artists, which bodes well for the project's near future. 

Studio-Andrea-Bolognino.-Courtesy-lartista.-Photo-credit-Vicky-Solli
StudioVisit.me - Studio di Andrea Bolognino - Courtesy of the artist. Photo credit Vicky Solli

Despite all that we are still discovering and experimenting, what the period has certainly taught us is that the only thing that has never stopped is the artists' research, in their studios, the incessant work of research, which, according to many, has taken back its time and space.

The moments of emptiness acted as a box, as a container, for free venting and, at the same time, for a reasoned and rational industriousness, which found their natural place in the studios, places untouchable by restrictions, saviours of doing.

The desire to StudioVisit.me seems to be precisely that of creating a connection between those places, witnesses of industriousness, the artists who work in those places, and an attentive public eager to discover.

Keeping the attention focused on real places, even through virtual means, seems to be the true mission of humanity as a whole, but also of the world of art, and StudioVisit.me is perfectly placed in this context as a clear and virtuous example of this direction. 

Studio-RIOT-Bianco-Valente.-Courtesy-gli-artisti
StudioVisit.me -Studio RIOT Bianco Valente - Courtesy of the artists

SPORE will talk about "small living beings that wander and move in search of territories suitable for their proliferation, highly variable in their concentration and with a strong resistance to the most disparate conditions". Attempts at proliferation, good practice, sociality applied to the territories: the territories themselves will be the fulcrum, sometimes the driving force, sometimes the contingent, and sometimes just a consequence, but the link between research, ideas and territories will be the true soul of SPORE.

All of them are constantly looking for the right territory in which to proliferate, without ever losing the drive to progress or stopping 'their own go', just like spores.

SPORE is a column edited by Fabiola Cangiano for the Salgem magazine

Fabiola Cangiano, born in Naples, class of 1991. She graduated in Archaeology from La Sapienza in Rome, and after a course adjustment, she started working in contemporary art after a Master in Cultural Heritage Management at Palazzo Spinelli, Florence. She has worked first as an archaeologist and research fellow, and then as gallery manager and artist liaison in contemporary art galleries in Rome and Naples.
Constantly in search of new stimuli, she considers attention to the territory fundamental to her growth and and professional research, attention to the territory in which she works, always keeping an eye on the international scene.
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